When my mother gave birth to me, it was a touch-and-go sitiuation. I was created with an abnormally huge head, which I would like to insist is filled with a brain the size of a small planet. Whether because of the head or some other medical reason, my mother had to undergo an emergency c-section. تذكر, this was more than half a century ago in a remote hill station near Munnar in Kerala. مواصلة القراءة →
When I was a child, I had a friend in the neighborhood. A smart (and slightly nerdy) kid, not unlike myself. We used to hang out, play badminton and do physics experiments. By the time we were teenagers, we kind of drifted apart, as our paths diverged. في وقت لاحق, I went the IIT-USA, global-citizen-route and ended up in Singapore. He, of more modest ambitions, stayed back at home, and got a job roughly similar to what my father used to do. I kept hearing of him, although I never really ran into him. He got married, probably had a couple of kids, and everything must have been going smoothly, even a bit dully. But a couple of years ago he suddenly died of leukemia.
Another day, another American school shooting. The predictable aftermath will be “thoughts and prayers” (although people use different words now because of the current climate of skepticism), another pointless debate over gun laws, and a few “never agains” and “never forgets”. Instead of those exercises in futility, I thought I would write about some other curious aspects of America’s deadly romance with guns.
I am attending a research retreat on mindfulness and contemplative practices at the beautiful Garrison Institute. I am learning a lot of interesting things, and meeting a lot of like-minded and excellent people – the kind of people with whom I could have deep conversation about the unreal nature of reality, unlike most people from other walks of life would politely and tactfully excuse themselves when I get a bit unreal.
At some point in our life, we come to accept the fact we are closer to death than life. What lies ahead is definitely less significant than what is left behind. These are the twilight years, and I have come to accept them. With darkness descending over the horizons, and the long shadows of misspent years and evaded human conditions slithering all around me, I peer into the void, into an eternity of silence and dreamlessness. فمن almost time.
ومن بين النصوص الدينية الهندوسية, the Bhagavad Gita is the most revered one. قدمت حرفيا كما كلمة الله, the Bhagavad Gita enjoys a stature similar to the Bible or the Koran. مثل كل الكتب, the Bhagavad Gita also can be read, ليس فقط كعمل من أعمال التفاني, ولكن بوصفها الخطاب الفلسفي وكذلك. وهو يمثل الموقف الفلسفي في فهم العالم, التي الأشكال (بالنسبة لأولئك من الهند) الافتراضات الأساسية والجوهرية في التعامل مع الحياة, واقع مجهول من حولهم. في الواقع, هو أكثر من الافتراضات والفرضيات فقط; ذلك هو أساس المنطق السليم تنتقل من جيل إلى جيل. ومن أسس الفكر, التي تشكل الفهم الغريزي والعاطفي للواقع واستيعابها قبل المنطق ولا يمكن لمسها أو تحليلها مع العقلانية. هم هذا أسطورة أن ورقة رابحة الشعارات في كل مرة.
I used to have a pretty sharp mind, particularly when it came to simple arithmetic. I think age has begun to dull it. Case in point: recently I had to check a friend’s pulse rate. So I felt his pulse for 15 seconds and got 17 beats. في تلك المرحلة, I wanted to call out the heart beats per minute. And at that point, my mind suddenly went blank. It started going through this chain, “طيب, I got 17 إلى 15 seconds. So what is it for a minute? It should be, ماذا, 60 seconds over 15 times 17. Hold it, where is my iPhone? I need a calculator. No wait, فمن 17 for a quarter of a minute. هكذا 17 times 4. Where is my calculator, dammit?!” Granted, it was a slightly stressful situation. But this is not at all the way my mind used to work.
I read on BBC yesterday that the richest 62 people in the world now earn as much as the poorest half, which would be about 3.5 billion people! Although there is some confusion about the methodology, it is clear that the wealth and income have been getting more and more polarized. The rich are certainly getting richer. Income inequality is more acute than ever.
I haven’t heard many concrete arguments against the conspiracy theories except those based on the belief that the government wouldn’t do it, and some emotional ones. The latter boils down to name-calling and accusing the conspiracy theorists of insensitivity, lack of compassion for the victims and their loved ones, lack of patriotism etc.
It has been a while since I posted a new article in this series on 9/11. Recent terror events have made it unpalatable to dwell on the 9/11 conspiracy theme. Nevertheless, one has stand up for what one believes to be true, even when the stance is unpopular. So I will press on with the series, and wrap it up with two more articles, despite the warning from a friend that I will never be able to visit the US again without risking a lengthy interview at the airport. Or worse. لكن, some truths have to be told, even when they are too true.