Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Desultory running has happened since, but now, finally, a target to shoot for: The Bangalore Marathon on May 15. Well, not all of it, but at least the 7 k.m. wuss race! Got to train like crazy. Have downloaded the ultimate running song and all that remains is to drag the soporific carcass out of bed every morning and hit the roads...
- Visited Navadarshanam. Not quite Timbaktu, but worth a gander. Many experiments in alterative lifestyles have been tried at Navadarshanam, the website says it all. Interestingly, Navadarshanam is located near Gummalapuram, and apparently the two hills are mentioned in The Spotted Devil Of Gummalapur, from "Nine Maneaters And One Rogue" by Kenneth Anderson.
- More money spent on books. In this instance, two volumes by Murakami, Prey - which apparently has something to do with a previous post, and James Clavell's Shogun - for old times' sake
- Finished the empire book. Turns out that most of the book is devoted to describing how the empire grew and expanded, in a very non-judgemental way (if anything Ferguson is critical of various imperial policies). In the final couple of chapters, there is a sudden jump from, "OK, so the British Empire was bad, as we've seen. But your alternatives were the French, German or Japanese empires, and we all know that the Brits were saints compared to those foreign johnnies, ergo the British Empire was a good thing in that it prevented said johnnies from taking over the world." Somehow leaves one with an unfinished taste...
- Am now proud owner of my first Apple gadget. The heavens be thanked for mildly insane kid sisters.
- Got some more music. Getz, Cale, and Hey Baby Hey Baby Yeah.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
ACO is just one of many techniques that are part of the fields of "Nature Inspired *", including
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The thrust of the book is that on balance, the existence of the British Empire did more good than harm. According to him, it is responsible for the spread of liberal values and parliamentary democracy around the world, the English language, the industrial age, globalization and free trade (in its modern forms). He does not deny that horrible things happened, but constantly reminds us that things would've been a lot worse if say, the Japanese or the Germans, had been the great colonial power of the 19th and 20th centuries.
So far, the problem is that he constantly presents the Japanese (and German, French, or Dutch) empire as the only alternative to the British empire. As in, "If India had not been part of the British empire, it would've been under the Japanese. That the Japanese were butchers, we've seen during the Second World War. Therefore, India was better off under the British." Not much consideration is given to the idea of, "Hey, what if India wasn't part of any empire? What if parliamentary democracy and liberal values and other such things had taken root on their own here? What if there had been agricultural and industrial development independently here?"
Should be an interesting read. The book seems to have divided the world into three camps. Those who support the thesis, those who oppose it, and of course those who have not read it.
Monday, April 18, 2005
...swings to eastern ocean for his daily bath, and from there to southern sea, to make aachamana, sipping water for self-purification, and then to western oceans to give arghya, water oblation, and from there to other ocean for japa and suuryopasthaana, meditation and welcome to daily sun...All this, on a daily basis. I feel like I've had a similar weekend. At 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, I had a bath in Hyderabad, and "swung" to Chennai on the "eastern ocean". Spent a good part of the morning transferring tsunami traumatized caimans from one sandy pit to another, took a dip in the Bay Of Bengal and ate fish curry with rice for lunch on the beach.
Evening saw us "swing" to Kochi, on the "western oceans" where food was had, family members were met, a wedding was solemnized. Come Sunday evening, and I "swung" for points north, and spent the night in Bangalore eating paan and talking. And now its Monday morning, and I'm back in the northern parts, sleepy and exhausted.
This Vali dude was quite something.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
- The Great Hedge of India: Been eyeing this one for a while, finally caved in when it cast its lascivious looks at me from the Crosswords bookshelf. The subject is bloody interesting, but the book isn't all that great a read. The author skips between first person 'detective' style narrative, and third person colonial Indian history, and somehow it doesn't all gel together (though John Keay had good things to say on the back cover).
- Collected Poems, Vikram Seth
- Food and drink (Angeethi, Fusion, Eat Street)
- Kalyug, Mandi (both by Shyam Benegal) Saath Saath, Umrao Jaan, The Desert Rats.
"The Desert Rats" is highly romanticized, and the writer/director have taken artistic freedom to a new level. Ostensibly about the siege of Tobruk, the movie is full of the most unacceptable distortions. The most annoying (so far - have only seen one of the 2 VCDs) is the elevation of Rommel to Generalsfeldmarschall (to make the Allies look that much better?) about a year too early (he wasn't promoted until the battle of Gazala, and the subsequent capture of Tobruk). And Rommel speaks English in this movie. Oh well...
Friday, April 08, 2005
Early days yet.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
11. Gawked at ruined cities.
12. Checked out Karl's Own Country
13. Took another interesting train
14. Watched elephas maximus gambol in her element. [Lost the fingernails on my right index and middle fingers, when the window of said train landed on said fingers, reducing them to an interesting looking pulp.]
12. Headed northwards.
13. And northwards.
14. And northwards. At this point, one runs out of nation-state. So had to stop.
15. Gazed on the Bodhisat, at Leh, Shey, Thiksey, Alchi, Diskit...
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
CHOULTRY (p. 211) , s. Peculiar to S. India, and of doubtful etymology; Malayalam chawati, Telugu chawadi, [tsavadi, chau, Skt. chatur, 'four,' vata, 'road, a place where four roads meet]. In W. India the form used is chowry or chowree (Dakh. chaori). A hall, a shed, or a simple loggia, used by travellers as a resting-place, and also intended for the transaction of public business. In the old Madras Archives there is frequent mention of the "Justices of the Choultry." A building of this kind seems to have formed the early Court-house.
Seems like a nice mix of my own roots. Ergo...
Anyway, we owe our eager readers, who have been waiting with bated breath for the post Reichenbach version of this blog. Between the last posting here on March 02, 2004 and today, the following has happened:
1. Quit work
2. Locked up house, and left the People's Republic on cold, blustery May 9, 2004 for The City That Lost.
3. Ended up at a railway station, having passed through a university town, and the Urban Conglomeration of Fraternal, Deep, Tender, Ineffable Feeling of Affection and Solicitude toward a Person, Such as That Arising from Kinship, Recognition of Attractive Qualities, or a Sense of Underlying Oneness.
4. Took a train to the Hog Butcher for the World...
5. Took another train to the other People's Republic.
6. Flew off into the Blue Yonder. Actually, ended up in
a rather interesting place.
7. Spent time
- in a megalopolis
- contemplating the mysteries of existence in various shrines
- being gentle when the heathen prayed to him
- checking out some legendary type places,
- some historical type places, and
- some depressing (because one has to leave, eventually) type places
8. Ended up for a few days on a hammock in the land of creepy crawlies via another techy marvel.
9. Went home.
This is getting way too painful. Almost 6 months of peregrinations to list, and we aren't even started properly yet. To be continued. See you next year.