Wednesday, 28 May 2014

12 Trending books on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Yesterday, Narendra Modi became the 15th Prime Minister of India. He has not aired his views on homosexuality yet and probably it will not be much different from BJP views. But considering the air of secrecy around Modi and the change of his body language after the elections, I think we can expect surprises.  He is definitely a mysterious man. His fashion sense is immaculate; proper amalgamation of pure desi  and chic western styles, he is an avid photographer who had even conducted an exhibition, his oratory skills  nonpareil with any of the current crop of  Indian leaders, specialties are many for this resurgent man from Gujarat. To know more about our PM, Narendra Modi, buy and read the below books available through online portals of Flipkart and Amazon. I haven't read all of them and so cannot vouch for their quality, but just listing some of the trending books about Modi with their Flipkart and Amazon India links, for your convenience.

1. A Journey - Poems by Narendra Modi 


 Buy A Journey - Poems by Narendra Modi: Book

2. Narendra Modi - The Gamechanger 


Buy Narendra Modi - The Gamechanger: Book

3. Centrestage: Inside the Narendra Modi Model of Governance 


Buy Centrestage : Inside the Narendra Modi Model of Governance: Book

4. Narendra Modi : A Political Biography 


Buy Narendra Modi : A Political Biography: Book

5. Modi Muslims and Media : Voices from Narendra Modis Gujrat 


Buy Modi Muslims and Media : Voices from Narendra Modis Gujrat: Book

6. Narendra Modi: The Man, the Times 


Buy Narendra Modi: The Man, the Times: Book

7. The Man of the Moment - Narendra Modi


The Man of the Moment - Narendra Modi


8. Modi Demystified 


Buy Modi Demystified: Book

9. The Fiction of Fact - Finding : Modi and Godhra


Buy The Fiction of Fact - Finding : Modi and Godhra: Book

10. Narendra Modi Yes He Can.. 


Buy Narendra Modi Yes He Can..: Book

11. Modi: Leadership, Governance and Performance 


Buy Modi - Leadership, Governance and Performance: Book 

12. Abode Of Love


Buy Abode Of Love: Book

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bulging Crotches and Reckless Hands

What I am going to write about would have been experienced by most men in India, some will admit, others won't. It is prevalent during routine commute or anywhere, let it be the park nearby or in subways. I used to look at men, in fact, all men who passes near me. I ogle them, look at their derriere clad in skin tight jeans, their crotches or wedgies, but I will never go beyond the look at those hommes. I love it when men wear  low waist jeans, which gives immense opportunity to see what is lying beneath and beyond that an arousing curiosity, a titillating view of the underlying jockeys and hairy abdomens. Even by looking, I know that I am invading their privacy, but being a harmless habit, I think if is pardonable. What I am going to say about is even beyond this, it is embarrassing even to a gay man like me, let alone heterosexuals then. It stems from the prejudice, fear and the restrictions imposed in the society. Most gay men in India consider themselves to be bisexual and they lead a double life. Well, sometimes they cannot control their own hands and minds.

In India, buses and trains form the basic mode of public transport. With the spawning population and sprawling streets coupled with a totally disorganized public transport system, the crowds in buses and trains are mostly unimaginable to a Westerner. People are packed like peaches in a box and we are totally adapted to such crowds.  It is a gargantuan task to get into a bus at times, and you will feel like hell if you have some luggage too. Trains are worse and phenomenally crowded; the invasion of personal space is unthinkable. If you split your legs a little farther, somebody will take that space to sit down. People from cities are okay with all those and the diameter of their flight zone is considerably lesser compared to a person from rural areas. I grew up in a rural setting and I am totally uncomfortable with such breach of personal space. I avoid trains because of that and will wait for long in order to catch a bus with lesser crowds. 

As you are aware, such crowded spaces are hunting grounds for a closeted gay man or as society calls, a perverse man. They can touch the body parts of any man deliberately and can pretend that it happened inadvertently. Well, they need some knack for that though. I am not able to determine what to call such men, "perverse",  "opportunists" or "victims of circumstances". If society was tolerant to the "gay thing", then they would not have been forced to seek pleasure in such surreptitious ways. Such experiences are so common, but nobody likes to admit it in public, but in private conversations among friends it will come up regularly.

The modus operandi differs slightly from person to person, but more or less the same. I was on my way back home from office, caught my routine bus, occupied my more or less reserved window seat, put my ear phones and got lost in pop music. Soon a middle aged man, nearly 45-50 years of age, well dressed sat beside me and the bus got moving. I didn't pay any attention to him, as older guys don't act as head turners for me. The bus was not crowded and many seats were unoccupied. As the bus got moving, that man started sleeping and I was viewing the scenery outside. I was totally unaware of the person sitting beside me. Suddenly I felt a hand over my thighs. I looked down and found that his hand was resting over my thighs. I didn't mind. I continued listening to my music and ignored that hand as I thought that he was sleeping and his hand may have slipped down. After some time, the position of hand changed and it had gone up. I was getting suspicious by then. Still I did not react as I was not sure whether it was deliberate or not. I remained guarded. After some time, the hand moved more closer to my crotch. Then I understood that it was deliberate. I slowly removed his hand from my thighs. For some time, nothing happened, soon the hand retained the same position and the whole process started again. His hand again reached closer to my crotch and I was forced to react. But being a gay man myself, I could not make it a big fuss. If I did that, I would be ethically wrong. So without looking at the man, I just got up from the seat and occupied another vacant seat. I was pretty sure that I did the right thing by not reacting violently; he will definitely do this to another man in future, my reaction is not going to make a difference. I didn’t react because of the sympathy I felt for him as I believe that he was doing doing this out of his desperation.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Om mani padme hum - Buddhist mantra sung by Tibetan Singer Yungchen Lhamo

Buddhist mantras are very good for calming down your mind. One of the famous mantras is Om mani padme hum. As his holiness Dalai lama puts it,
The first, "Om" symbolizes the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.
"The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: (the) altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.
The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom
Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility.
Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha "
Another suggestion of the meaning of mantra is,
Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm) (Wikipedia).
Hear the mantra sung by the Tibetan nightingale Yungchen Lhamo

This was her comment on 9/11 incident; "We all were living in a dream. We often do. Nobody thought something like this would happen to New York City. That day, no matter how powerful you were, the sight of people falling from those buildings made everyone numb. I remember that feeling of helplessness. I think we all felt that. Then, of course, we all cried, no matter what country you were from. I moved to New York City with my son at the end of 2000, and America seemed like a monument or a flag to look up at. Now I travel the world, and when I see a city that looks like New York, it reminds me of that day. This song begins and ends with chants reminiscent of a puja for the people who died, with prayers to ease their passage to another world.... In order for this tragedy not to happen again, what are we going to do about it? We can only hope the experience has made all of us more human."

How True the words are, we are all humans and we are not immortals, there is no place for pride !!!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

National Dance Team from Georgia - Sukhisvili - Images

As per Wikipedia, the Georgian National Ballet was the first professional state dance company in Georgia. Founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945, it was initially named as the Georgian State Dance Company. Thanks to this company the Georgian national dancing and music has become known in many parts of the world". Read more in their website. Posting some photographs from their performances.

Image courtesy: Google

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Jaw dropping National Dance Team from Georgia - Sukhisvili

Dance is a celebration of human spirit; it can inflict happiness, sadness or for that matter, any emotion. With the help of right music, dance can act as a powerful weapon to bring out change in people. Dance is a liberating experience and we can see that in a dancer's face. Dance may be simple or complex, performed singly, as duo or in groups. There are multitudes of dance forms, prevalent in different countries with varied rules and regulations or sometimes without any rules too. Irrespective of all these, dance forms cross barriers and geographical boundaries, it will carry you away even if you don't know the language or the rules. That is the charm of dance. An adept dancer transforms into you; in your mind, you replaces him with yourself. It feels like you are dancing there.

I recently stumbled upon this wonderful, jaw dropping rehearsal performance by Georgian National Ballet team (Sukhishvili). There are many videos of their performances in Youtube. All of them are wonderful, but this rehearsal performance I found most astounding. The simplicity of being informal and lack of props added to the charm of the performance. I was totally enamored by the dance form. Enjoy!!


Another impromptu performance and the drumming is just awesome.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Maze of Life and the Prevailing Uncertainty

Life is an enigma. Everything that surrounds us are not what we think as, not what we see and not what we feel about. Our minds are getting fooled. In Hinduism, we use a term called " Maya", we are all surrounded and illusioned by "maya" - a concept well popularized by the Keanu Reeves starrer - The "Matrix". Disillusioning from this omnipresent "maya" is the core principle of most of the Oriental philosophies especially Hindu philosophy.  We have to cross the  maze  of life, whether we like it or not. 

Uncertainty is the hard and fast rule of this maze. Just imagine the birth of a human baby - the element of uncertainty at its best. Millions and millions of sperms are released (why, just because it is so uncertain) in a split second, then they  "compete" lashing their microscopic tails, venture in a "single minded journey", cross the dark alleys of a super-convoluted structure - the "oviduct" (no other "tunnel of love" will be this competitive and dark), most of our candidates fail during that treacherous journey and somehow some lucky ones reach the destination, the chosen "one" among the lucky will eventually merge with the counter part  - "the ovum or egg"; love blossoms and "he" loses his "head" (yup, sperm will literally lose its head while sucked into the female cell). The uncertainty doesn't end there. The fertilized egg soon transforms to a ball of cells dividing rapidly. That floating ball of cells come down to uterus and get implanted and grow. Unprecedented events can occur at any time. A problem with hormones, hemorrhages etc., can lead to totally unprecedented and dire circumstances. Abnormalities can result when baby is inside the womb or when it emerges. That is why the first breath and the first cry provide huge relief for the mother. Besides the pain involved in the process is enormous. Just go through a wonderful video about the development of a human child (the best I have seen so far), the creator of the video is spot-on, even scientifically.

The uncertainty of every life on this planet makes life challenging and worthy. That makes us live. Everyday, when the first rays of sun trickling through near by trees fall on you crossing your window pane, you wake up completely blank and disoriented. Then you start your day as usual, perform the chores like a robot and the rush starts. You cross the sprawling streets, subways, bus-stations and railway stations, swearing and loosing your cool during traffic jams and finally reach your temple of work and there starts another stream of thoughts, you are anxious about the things to befall upon you as day progresses, the pressures of work assignments, yelling from the boss and managing several tasks simultaneously. Again uncertainty is there in every moment of your life. Your company can collapse at any time, you can become jobless, you can get hit by a bus, can even lose your life or something can happen to your near and dear ones. What a difference a day can make, what a difference a second can make!! When we see a butterfly, a beautiful butterfly, we enjoy the sheer beauty. Next day, we see the same butterfly dead and wilted, its beauty transformed into the grimace of death. We will think about the transience of insect life, how easy they get dead. We may be larger and intellectually superior, but our fates are no different. Just imagine any natural calamity, an earthquake, a tsunami, an air plane accident, a train accident, anything can happen any time. Remember the film, "Final destination", well, it used to send chills down my spine. The fear of death is there is in all of us.

You may be thinking that I am turning into a preacher, I am not going to attribute all this to "god". I believe, the god concept is carefully crafted by our forefathers to relieve this inherent fear of uncertainty in our minds. We can resort to god for everything, prey to protect us, to give us everything, wealth and happiness. Fair enough. We give "bribes" to god in temples, churches and mosques in order to take control of our life. That is not logical at all. But religious extremists have twisted the god concept to a degree that people will kill each other for religions and in their mind, they are doing it for god. They are forgetting this element of uncertainty of human life. To preserve God's ideals, to bring out "his country", wars are being fought. When somebody deviates from the ideals described in the "god's scriptures", we become intolerant and persecute that fellow. There lies the difference between spirituality and religiosity. Being spiritual is a search to find the way out of this maze. We should realize the fact that whether god is there or not, human life is a trifle. We are mere mortals and can perish at any time. There is no room for any "pride". So thank to your god or just be thankful to mother nature for each day you get, for each day you live. Be thankful and humbled.  There is no place for ego. Help others as far as possible and live a life of peace. Love all living things, let it be a small helpless butterfly, be it a  large and mighty elephant. Life is something worth preserving.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Kindness to animals - some Images

Kindness is becoming so rare in this world. The world is turning out to be increasingly violent and the new generation is forgetting all he values human kind amassed during hundreds of years of evolution. Even then, there are random acts of kindness, happening all over the world, some of them get noticed, others sink in oblivion. Just posting some images of kindness towards the "lesser species" - "animals", from blogosphere to remind the value of kindness and the need of kindness to our fellow living beings.

Image courtesy: googlebored panda

Orlando - I feel hopeless!!!!

Every gay man and woman would have heard the news of Orlando shooting completely terrified and would have froze by the fact that the man w...