A GLIMPSE OF THE SACRED

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Reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. A thought that he dwells on while explaining the satisfaction one can derive out of highly focused craftsmanship struck me. This satisfaction need not necessarily come from extracting artistry from crude metals or wood carving or painting or writing or anything that we instantly attach artistry to. It can be something as ‘mechanical’ as computer programming, too. It can be both physical and cognitive, provided it calls for high levels of skills. Continue reading

Welcome to Raithara Santhe, the soul of Yelahanka

Raithara Santhe (farmers' market) located in Old Yelahanka on a Sunday morning.

Raithara Santhe (farmers’ market) located in Old Yelahanka on a Sunday morning.

To be connected locally is to live life in high-definition. For life hides and reveals itself in details, often so minute that unless we explore it through local language and cuisine and through the eyes of the people we talk to, we live through a blur. Continue reading

‘Behold this compost! behold it well!’

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On this World Soil Day, it’s time to revisit Walt Whitman’s beautiful poem on compost. Let’s compost and send it back to the soil.

THIS COMPOST

SOMETHING startles me where I thought I was safest;
I withdraw from the still woods I loved;
I will not go now on the pastures to walk;           
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea;         
I will not touch my flesh to the earth, as to other flesh, to renew me.             Continue reading

Drizzle at dawn, over-peppered pongal, a cup of tea and some random thoughts

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Modern comforts in the midst of a rural setting… Nothing beats it.

Our search for a home in one such setting ended in Yelahanka in a complex that has plonked itself amidst three villages. There are some aged green giants like peepal, banyan and neem settled on roadsides and also small strips of vineyards and coconut plantations. Two tiny lakes on either side of the building sparkle in sunlight but lose out to the heat during summer. Continue reading

Eid mubaarak, Khan uncle!

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“Long ago, I jumped off my ship which caught fire. Not a bruise or a burn on my body. I swam to the shore. But the land didn’t agree with me.”

As Khan uncle sat against the blameless blue skies on an extraordinarily beautiful sunny morning with that charming smile, it was difficult to agree with what he said. Continue reading

Massive beehive built in 8 minutes: A gift on World Environment Day?

IMG_20131026_072702The buzz started at around 2 pm yesterday with a just few bees. In the next couple of minutes, the swarm grew bigger and bigger and the bees started piling up on each other. Eight minutes of manic activity, this massive beehive took the shape of black icicles and then, everything went silent. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-2: Outsourcing lung space

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

Frangipani Flowers

In a majority of cases, apartments sprout on what was a cultivated land or a lakebed or both, previously. Thousands of trees get uprooted to make way for a gated community. This is happening at an alarming pace especially in green areas like North Bangalore. Relatively greener, that is. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-1: How dumb can we get about deadly pesticides?

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

 

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Sometime ago, a friend of mine recounted a heart-breaking tale involving her housemaid who had suffered massive crop damage in her hometown located in a neighbouring state. It was nothing to do with untimely rains or drought or any other vagaries of nature. But something purely man-made—a guided tour of disaster, planned and sponsored by agriculture experts who swear by deadly cocktails of pesticides. Continue reading

Oh, Bangalore of yore!

South Parade, Bangalore.

First came the plague, then pride and then ‘progress’. That quaint, obscure village where rural air refused to settle now wears a façade of inexorable modernity. Long back, behind this façade stood a different kind of past. Ducking under the mystic clouds of nostalgia is perhaps the only way to enjoy it. Continue reading

When doctors themselves become medical tragedies…

English: MedicineMedicine is perhaps the only sphere where we forget our social conditioning about shame. This is where secrets vanish. Morality dies. Theists find new gods, atheists turn agnostic and agnostics turn theists.

Some of these are possibilities, if not certainties.

Beneath all such life-changing events lies pain, something nobody can define convincingly. If you look up dictionaries for the meaning of ‘pain’, you will know what I mean.

We go to doctors with this indefinable pain, looking for a definite solution, succour and what not. But a lot of anomalies can happen in between because very few doctors admit their fallibility and thus, refuse to grow beyond generalisations to offer anything called diagnosis. Continue reading

High time we loved our own bodies. From a different angle.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...I thought I wasn’t someone given to numbers. What always interested me was how we interpreted these numbers, statistics. After all, aren’t facts a matter of interpretation? Do they even exist unless we put meaning into them?

But I got deeply influenced by numbers and size, both big and small, ever since I started digging into Bill Bryson’s writings. I do not know how other readers read him. But with me, each fact told through a number/size was a revelation of its own kind. It often felt as if the truckloads of information Bill dug out through mind-numbing research made my mind hurtle towards one deeper realisation: we humans know so little about our own bodies! Well, almost nothing.

This post will fall miserably short if I get down to describing what I exactly mean by that. I would rather take you through a few of them that prompted this post. Continue reading

Of friends and friendship and friendlessness

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I happened to meet a person recently who was thus far just an acquaintance. A beautiful person with a beautiful mind and beautiful thoughts.

Everything fell in place like magic: the time, the meeting point, the logistics—all this conjured up over a rather simple pretext of exchanging a book for a hard disk full of movies and music. Continue reading

Dumbing down: Reducing our children to a bunch of box-tickers

It’s out: Some Oxford University students cannot spell ‘erupt’, ‘across’, ‘illuminate’, ‘blur’, ‘buries’ or ‘possess’ correctly, said a news agency report recently. It was quoting the examiners’ reports who termed it a “worrying degree of inaccuracy”.

Sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? Well, they can’t even get ‘bizarre’ right! Continue reading

‘The Emperor of All Maladies’: Astonishingly Beautiful!

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer-winning The Emperor of All Maladies – A Biography  on Cancer is like observing a massive river overflowing, but one that is kind enough to leave its embankments unharmed.

That’s because despite the richness of its content, most often purely scientific at its core, the book is anything but esoteric. Any other writer would have turned it into a drab non-fiction on cancer—one that is inured to death, not life. Continue reading

Trash issues: Before we seek divine intervention…

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If festivals are all about finding a means to get closer to divinity, then why is it that they are often associated with our irresponsible attitude towards Nature?

Last week I read about the unimaginable trail of pollution Christmas celebrations leave behind in the UK. Some estimates say that nearly three million tonnes of waste hits landfills by the time the festivities wind up. Continue reading

Are humans superior? Only Nature knows!

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The whole of last week, I had this opportunity to research and collate some startling facts for a booklet that would thrill both adults and children alike.

As I dug deeper into earth history, it didn’t take long to realise that what’s startling to one person might just be plain insipid to another—as these are highly subjective to our own way of thinking and our perception of the world around us. However, I do believe that there are some of these facts that you will also find humbling, just as I did. Continue reading