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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kahat kabir sono bhai sadho - Guru sam data koi nahin


दाता नदियाँ एक सम, सब काहू को दे 
जिसके जैसा कुंभ हो, वैसा ही भर ले 

Givers and rivers are alike
They give fully to one and all
Takers draw their fill
Each to their own vessel

गुरु सम दाता कोई नहीं

There's no giver like a Guru

जग मांगण हारा, गुरु सम दाता कोई नहीं 
कोई नहीं हो ऐसा कोई नहीं 

कागज़ की एक नाव बनी, जिन में लोहा अपारा
सतगुरु पार लगाविया कोई संत पुकारा 



क्या राजा क्या बादशाह, हो सबने हाथ पसारा
सात द्वीप नौ खंड में सत गुरु का ही पसारा 



अपराधी तीरथ चल्या, क्या तीरथ तारे 
कपट दाग छूट्य नहीं, बहु अंग पखारया

कहें कबीर क्या खो गया, क्या ढून्ढन  हारा ?
अंधे को सूझे नहीं,  थारा घट मांही उजाला 

The world is full of beggars, there's no giver like a Guru
No one, oh no one. 

A boat made of paper, was filled with a ton of iron
A true guru will get it across, a saint's words are calling out to you

What to talk of kings and emperors? They all have their hands outstretched
The true guru's wisdom stretches, In seven continents and nine regions

A sinner takes off for a holy dip, will that get him across?
The dark stains didn't wash away, he scrubbed his limbs so hard

Says kabir, what have you lost? What are you searching for? 
Oh blind one, don't you see? The light is in your own body

Kahat kabir suno bhai sadho - Ameeya jhare

साहिब तुम्हारी साहिबी सब घाट रही समाए
ज्यों मेहेंदी के पात मैं लाल लखी नहीं जाए
Oh God, your godliness, Permeates everybody
Like the red hidden in a green hanna leaf

लाली मेरे लाल की, जित देखूं तित लाल 
लाली देखन मैं गयी, मैं भी लाल हो गयी 
The redness of my beloved is such, Wherever i look, i see that red
I set out in search of red, I became red myself


अमीया झरे हो साधो

A shower of nectar

अमीया झरे हो साधो अमीया झरे 
इनी भंवर गुफा का माई अमीया झरे

गगन मंडल बीच उनमुख कुंवेला 
सत नाम की वहां झड़ी हो झडे

अखंड ब्रम्हांड में लागी रही लाली 
सुखमना नारी वहां घोर करे 

त्रिकूटी महल में बाजी रहा बाजा 
दसवां द्वार जईने खबर पड़े 

कहें कबीर साहिब सुनो रे भाई साधो 
अमीया पीये उ नर काय को मरे 



A shower of nectar, oh seekers
In this whirl of a cave, a shower of nectars

In the centre of the sky dome , an upside down well
The true name is raining there

In the undivided universe, an applause resounds
Sushmana is calling out there

In the palace of three peaks, an instrument plays
You'll hear it at the tenth door

Says Kabir, listen seekers, 
the one who drinks this nectar, is beyond death and decay



Kahat Kabi Suno bhai Sadho - Mat kar maya ko ahankar

फूल्या फाल्या क्या फिरे, क्या बतलावत  अंग?
अक दिन फना हो जायेगा जैसे कीट पतंग 


Why so arrogant and puffed up?, Why strut and show your stuff? 
One day you will perish, Like a moth in a flame!

जो उगे वो आथमे, फूले सो कुमलाये 
जो चूने सो डही पड़े , जन्मे सो मर जाये 

That which rises shall set , That which booms shall wither
That which is built shall crumble, That which is born shall die



मत कर माया को  अहंकार

Don't be deluded by Maaya

मत कर माया को  अहंकार , मत कर काया को अभिमान 
काया गार से काची, काया गार से काची,  जैसे ओस रा मोती 
झोंका पवन का लग जाये झपका पवन का लग जाए 
काया धूल हो  जासी 

ऐसा सख्त था महाराज, जिनका मुल्कों में राज 
जिन घर झूलता हाथी, जिन घर झूलता हाथी, जैसे ओस रा मोती 

भरया सिन्दड़ा में तेल, जहाँ रचयो है सब खेल
जल रही दिया की बाती, जल रही दिया की बाती,  जैसे ओस रा मोती 

खूट गया सिन्दड़ा रो तेल , बिखर गया सब निज खेल 
बुझ गया दिया का बाती,बुझ गया दिया का बाती, जैसे ओस रा मोती 

लाल में का लाल, तेरा कौन क्या हवाल 
जिनको जम ले जासी, जिनको जम ले जासी, जैसे ओस रा मोती 

झूठा माई थारो बाप झूठा सकल परिवार 
झूठा कूंटता  छाती,झूठा कूंटता  छाती,  जैसे ओस रा मोती 

बोल्या भवानी हो नाथ, गुरूजी ने सिर पर धरया हाथ 
जिनसे मुक्ति हो जासी, जिनसे मुक्ति हो जासी,  जैसे ओस रा मोती 



Don't be deluded by Maaya, don't take pride in the body 
Its as fragile as clay, like a drop of dew
A blast of wind, just a little gust
And the body will turn to dust!

There was a stern king, famed among nations
Elephants swayed in his court, Like a drop of dew

The clay lamp was filled with oil, 
From it this play unfurled
The light burns in the lamp, Like a drop of dew. 

The clay lamp ran out of oil, the play scattered
The light went out in the lamp, like a drop of dew

Oh you dear one, precious and beloved, how will you feel when Death takes you away?
Death will take you away , like a drop of dew

Mother father - illusion. Family ties - illusion
Mourning, beating your chest - illusion, 
like a drop of dew

Says Bhavani Nath - 
My guru laid his hand on my head
Liberation is mine, Like a drop of dew


Kahat Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho - Kin Sangh karoon mein sneh

Back in May 2009, i attended a concert by Prahlad Singh Tipaniya organized by theKabirproject.org.  That resulted in a series of blog posts here with songs, its lyrics and meaning in english. All of that was taken from the album purchased from their albums. At the concert, there was also Shabnam Virmani who is the person behind the Kabir project. She sang two songs which were beautiful, i searched for hem online and had no results. By chance, last week, i found her album on flipkart and ordered it. The album is called Songs of Kabir and it is very good. Her voice is very soothing and Kabir's lyrics need no mention.

I think of all the poets that i have listened,  Kabir is my favorite. I have rarely been able to understand him without external help (translations mainly) but once i understand his lines, they are simply beautiful. He combines very deep meaning with very simple lines. 

So, three years later, i am continuing that tradition. Following series of blog posts will mention Kabir songs, its translations and i will embed the song as well. I also have to go back and correct the old posts as  i had uploaded songs on imeem and imeem is dead now. Also, my intention is to not to violate copyrights of these songs, i would highly recommend people to go and buy these albums. My only intention is to spread these things, so that people can also find them as inspiring as they have inspired me. You can buy  from - 

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किन संग करों मैं सनेह? Whom shall i love, my friend?

हेलिए, किन संग करों मैं सनेह?
सांगत कीजो धर्मी साधू री
सांगत कीजो निर्मल साधू री


चन्दन उगो इणा बागा मां
हरख रही बन राय
चन्दन पास में जाऊं ,
आप चन्दन हो जाऊं

बांस उगो इणा बागा मां
थरक रही बन राय
आप जले औरन के जाले ,
अगनी घनी अंग माय

दव लागो इणा बागा मां
पंची बैठे आये
हमरे जलों पंख बहिरो
तम उडी परे को जाये

फल खादा पान बिरोदिया,
रमिया डालो डाल
तम जलों मैं उबरूं,
जीविणों कितरीक बार ?

दव बूझ्यो झाड़ा मेटिये
दूधे बूठा मेह
कहत कबीरा धरमदास से,
नित नित नवलो नेह

Whom shall i love, my friend?
True seekers make good company
Seek the kinship of the pure in heart


A sandalwood grew in the grove
Delighting all the forest
I go near the sandalwood
I become fragrant too!

A bamboo grew in the grove
All the forest trembled
It burns itself and all around
So much fire in the body!

A fire lit the forest, a bird come and sat
The wingless tree cried out -
I'll burn, I am ablaze,
But you, winged one, should fly!

I ate your fruit, soiled your leaves
Played from branch to branch
Leave you to burn, and fly away?
You live and love but once!

The fire went out
The clouds rained milk
Says BKabir to Dharamdas -
Every day my love is new!






There is also a story associated with the above book (as mentioned in the booklet) -
Once upon a time there was a thick forest which caught fire. As the blaze spread rapidly, the animals and birds began to flee. One brave little parrot however, decided to stay. The tree that she lived on - rooted and helpless - urged her to fly away but she didn't.  She found a lake nearby, plunged into it, flew back over the raging fire and flapped her tiny wings. Another two-three drops of water fell. She returned to the lake, plunged in, flew back and flapped her wings again. Another two-three drops of water fell. And so on and so forth.... The fleeing animals and birds scoffed at her. Some were stupefied at her foolhardiness and asked, "What do you think you're doing?" She turned to them and said, "I am doing what i can."

The clouds rolled by and on them were the beauteous gods, lying back in resplendent indifference. One of the gods however spotted the parrot and was curious. He swooped down in the form of an eagle to observe the bird more closely. The parrot was now getting charred and scorched with its relentless efforts.  The mighty god was moved to tears. The clouds thundered and burst with rain, sweeping across the forest and the fire went out.


Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks

My first trek in India - Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks
Organized by BMCIndia.org (Bangalore mountaineering club)

Not only it was my first trek but it was one of my first trek as part of a group which has guides, organizes food, transport and stay. Pretty much you pay the money and reach there at the pick up time, everything else is taken care by them. The peaks are part of Western Ghats about 280 kms away from Bangalore.  Since most of my hikes have been alone, it was a new experience for me to hike with people :) Here are the good and the not-so-good about the trek -

The best part -
Trekking in rain. For the last 6 kms of trek it rained heavily and we hiked the Bababuddangiri peak in rain with my poncho on me. That $3 poncho purchased at the Yellowstone national park gets the highest ROI award for this trip. Hiking in rain is a lot of fun and its brings the nature with new energy and spirits. It also helps if you are crossing clouds, or you are above clouds over a valley.

The good -
Western Ghats in general are quite beautiful.  I am not sure if it is ok to compare one natural scenery to another, but i would still rate Yosemite to be more scenic than here.  But western ghats when compared relative to Indian landscape and what we have done with it look very very good.
The trek overall was quite good. There were decent trails. I hiked 200 metres behind the guy ahead of me and 200 metres ahead of the guy behind me, so pretty much i felt it was a solo trek, the exception being the peaks which were checkpoints where all of us had to meet before going forward. Going solo means peace, no sound, i can assume that there are no humans nearby. I was overall happy with my breathing and strength to go on.
Near the Mullayangiri peak, there are also caves, so exploring them was a nice surprise.
The campfire at night with antakashari totally reminded that it happens in Indian hike only :)


The not-so-good:
~ This is a comment in general about Indian trails - there are no maps. So if you are lost, you are screwed. I wonder all these groups with so much experience, they should start preparing maps. I am pretty sure it will come with time soon.
~ The group was quite big - 22 people. And the constraint to wait for everybody at peaks was quite annoying because the slowest people were like 1 hr behind me. When alone, i can do things at my own pace, relax when i want to and time things accordingly. And i am also not the fittest, given a group of athletes, i am pretty sure i would be the last one, but atleast i know that hiking should not be done by holding each other's hands etc etc. Anyways, there were some group annoyances which were not welcome.
~Food - bmcindia organized food at a place instead of giving lunch boxes. We reached 45 mins before the food, so that was a wait. The food was also biriyani, i am not sure if that can be called a hiking food. But after food, even though i ate less, it makes you sluggish. 15 kms is not that long a hike that i need a food break in between. I also didn't like it. Everybody had enough energy bars etc to last the hike without it.
~ Like any group, there were good people and bad people. If i see someone who throws a water bottle or a used napkin in nature, immediately it is a turn off. It just makes me crazy when people have a lack of respect towards nature.
~ The temple on top of Mulllayangiri - Why o why we have to make a temple everywhere? I didn't go in because they wanted to take shoes off which is not acceptable to me.
~ The leech experience. Many shared their stories of leeches. It is gross but painless, ugly but harmless. So i thought that i was prepared until i witnessed it myself. The general prescription was that do not be bothered, just finish the trek and deal with it later. But when faced with them, i also panicked little bit and ran as quickly as i can.

~I think overall i missed the flexibility and control that i have over my hikes. But i think that is a price to pay for no planning and trail guides :)



Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why i hate Aamir Khan and yet want Satyamev jayate to succeed?

Other title candidate:
Dr.Strangelove: How i learnt to stop hating and love the idea of Aamir Khan.

Disclaimer one:
All thoughts expressed below are my opinions. If you disagree, i know that you disagree, so please do not share here.
Disclaimer two:
Whatever i say about this article, at the end of the day it is a rant. I will offer no justifications to whatever i am going to say. Again, if you disagree, please keep it to yourself.



Yes, the title is meant to be sensational and at the start i would like to clarify that i do not hate Aamir Khan. I have nothing against him as a person but i detest the adulation he receives.  This post is divided in two parts. In part one I clarify/justify my thoughts on Mr. perfectionist and in part Two, i would describe why the first episode of Satyamev Jayate was simply cult. 

Part One:
I hate the adulation of Aamir Khan for  two main points -
(a) He is the  epitome of celebration of mediocrity. I am talking about Aamir Khan as an actor and i think his acting is average or slightly above average (since the pool of actors is so bad, the average itself is abysmally low).  I think his selection of movies is indeed decent and i have no doubt that he commits himself 100% to it. But so does Abhay Deol whose selection of movies has simply been great and he also gives everything but Abhay Deol also is a decent actor, not a good one. 
To justify my point, I will highlight Aamir's movies and my take on them. It is futile to discuss all his movies, but lets just discuss his early movies and later ones. In his early "debut" avatar, Aamir movies like QSQT,  JJWS and AHAT where success because of Mansoor Khan's direction, and the excellent writing that went into it. Andaz apna apna's credit will pretty much go to the dialog/characters. His mid-career movies like Ishq, Mann, Mela were a disaster with the exception of Sarfarsoh. Lagaan was a turning point in his career and i think Lagaan and Sarfarosh has been his best performances. But post Lagaan, i think his movies worked because of the brand value and marketing. I hate 3 idiots, RDB and Ghajini. If people claim that his movies have social message, IMHO the social message was not done any justice as they deserved.
If i claim Aamir to be average, who are good actors? To name a few, Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin shah, Vinay Pathak, Raghuvir Yadav, Kay Kay Menon are few examples.  
So my point is that, i think the media and we as a nation have chosen a celebrate mediocrity and have neglected the finest talent that this profession has to offer. Mediocrity is contagious and we should be very cognizant of this. Companies like google are great because their hiring rule is that the new person's talent should be higher than the average. Companies like GE have survived because they weed out the bottom k% every year.  I think we should be very careful of who should be our role models, whom do we want our aspirations to be.  Aamir Khan as an actor does not reflect the acting standards that i look for.

(b) Aamir Khan is an excellent marketer (or salesman): To me this is the second thing wrong with our society. We (and i include me in this) believe whatever is presented to us in nice package. We judge a book by its cover, if something is sold to me nicely, we believe it, we trust it and accept it wholeheartedly.  Aamir Khan's post Lagaan movies have simply done that and here i would give him credit - he has done it excellently.  He has a very shrewd understanding of what works, what people want and he has a genuine knack of timing in delivery. People who do MBA (esp in marketing) treat him as God. This is my problem. He is inspiring people to be salesman and i hate him (or us) for that.  Sidenote: I think one of the most creative industries in India is the advertising industries and i always have mixed feelings  about it.  His recent movies are successful not because  of their content matter but because of his brand value and the way they were pushed on to us. If anybody tells me that 3 idiots is a satirical take on Indian education system my reaction is (a) to smile because laughing would be rude and (b) to walk away from the conversation as soon as i can otherwise i would just explode. 

Aamir exploits our psyche and what we want to hear in his movies and there is nothing wrong with it if the contents inside package are equally good.  But what he delivers is simply average. Yet, we celebrate it because the salesman has sold us and now its all hallucination and we just nod. The idea of independent judgement has been lost.  This is main reason - his salesmanship is killing independent opinion in our minds. Case in point is Ghajini which again IMHO (a) movie with horribly pathetic ending (b) the unique aspect of the story line that was partially copied from a cult movie and (c) the usp was Aamis Khan's 6 pack. That movie was a hit because it was sold to us. The "All is well" in 3 idiots which became the nation's favorite punch line, was so idiotically portrayed in the scene where the new born baby kicks when listens this phrase. I can go on with examples but i think i have made my point.



Part Two:
I loved Satyamev Jayate's episode one. I think it was one of the finest piece of Indian TV show that i have seen in years ( Sidenote: TV being a medium that has been totally neglected for people with intellect, again IMHO).  As i said above, i have nothing against packaging things nicely as long as the content inside is good. If bad things are sold with a nice cover, thats when things get problematic. I would honestly admit that when i saw the ads of Satyamev jayate, even when i heard that the name of the show is going to be Satyamev jayate ( a phrase which  is probably the only ideal that i espouse in my life), i was very impressed and yet being Aamir Khan, i believed that its all in packaging. I was so weary that i started the show at 11:35 instead of 11 am and i can honestly say that the show was really really well done.  Here is what i liked about the show -

(a) In one show, Satyamev Jayate showed what is wrong with all the news based reality shows. There have been many such shows on sahara, samay etc etc channels which report on these crimes but all of them ended up sensationalizing the issue in a wrong manner. Satyamev Jayate just proved that raw emotions appeal to our sensationalities in a far more effective manner than any other means. In a single stroke, i predict that this episode is going to change the face of reality based reporting.
(b) Oprah and respect: While talking to the people involved in real incidents, one was reminded about the Oprah Winfrey show. There is nothing wrong to compare but at the heart of it,  what both these shows are pointing that these people should be treated with respect and dignity. Again something that those news channels forgot in their attempt to sensationalize. Satyamev jayate brings it back and i would like to add Thanks you!
(c) All round coverage - There were point case studies, there were statistics (i would have liked more), there was public opinions, myths and reality. There was both cause and effect (the Kurukshetra case which also brought humor to the show). There was the problem, the solution (the Punjab village case) and a call to action.
(d) Swanand Kirkire's voice and Ram Sampanth's composition was like icing on the cake in terms of production value. (One of the great things that i used to like about House MD was its song on closing).
(e) Aamir Khan :) When people with klout do something that is good, when the klout is used to shape the views of people in large, there is nothing better usage of that.  Aamir Khan, thank you for doing this, for not dancing in IPL, for doing a good job at it.

(f) I think its awesome that this show was aired on Doordarshan!
Lastly, i think the topic of first episode is just the topic that needs our attention. So many things are a result of this gender inequality.  Full marks to the team of SJ and indeed Mr. perfectionist.







Few predictions -
(a) Aamir would be the in some list of most influential men of this century soon.
(b) I think SJ would be a trend setter in many shows to come in future. A welcome move.


A note:
There are those of you who will question my authority on making the above claims. A few of you may ask - "How good of an actor are you to make such comments?"  Here is my answer. I do not know how to sing yet i can appreciate Lata Mangeshkar over Shreya Goshal, Mohd. Rafi over Abhijit, Ust. Bismillah khan over an average shehnai player. So my point is that the appreciation of greatness can also come by making independent thought and judgement, by depth of perception.  Knowledge of subject definitely adds more subtleties, makes the difference more apparent and makes the appreciation of greatness more enjoyable.
Second question comes about my own professional skill - If you are average yourself, how you are making such a big comment? I must admit that among my peers in my company, i consider myself fortunate to be working with such great people, people who without any questions have superior skills than me. But i believe that if we look at the industry wise distribution, i know for a fact that i am damn good at the job i do. 

Lets close this rant with these four lines from the title song of Satyamev jayate -

Mujhey khud ko bhi hai tatolna
Kahin hai kami to hai bolna
Khahin dag hain toh chupayein kyon
Hum sach se nazrein hatayein kyon