24 Dec 2009


Posted by Oblivion in General | 1:21pm

The artist, bemused and absorbed, stared at the wall. The wall was full of lines, scribbled at random. In all shapes and lengths, the lines didn't, at first glance, make any sense. Some of them were faint, some have been erased, some have vanished with the passage of time, and a few were indelible. They defined the theme and the meaning, and yet the meaning had a trace of persistent vagueness. Some fleeting lines were being drawn even as the artist continued to stare.

A moment shall come when the artist will cease to be, and the only justification for his existence is lent by the few lines, indelible and defining, that will still conceal a part of the meaning and yet make all his attention most meaningful.

1 Dec 2009

When NAQs become FAQs

Posted by Oblivion in General | 6:43pm

"You never saw him, you never heard him. So why don't you give it a try?" my friend asked.

"Sorry. I would rather continue the stroll. You can attend the session and give me a call when you are done", I replied.

"You need not sit through the entire session. If you can't stand it, you could again go walking. I told you the campus is beautiful. And you loved it! So you can trust me when I say you will like this man too".

The campus was indeed huge and beautiful. But I didn't find my loving the campus a reason enough to trust my friend about my liking the man too. Actually, it's not about trust at all. However, it wasn't a moment to think deep about a word used by accident and merely as a trick to persuade. All the same, I reckoned there was nothing to lose. I admit I was indeed curious to see why this man attracted followers in millions across the globe. And I liked the fact that I need not sit through the entire session. "Okay! Great. Let's go!"

My friend was thrilled. "I bet you will like him. He has an aura and irresistible charm about him", he reassured.

"Great!" I smiled.

The gathering hall was huge and a definite achievement in architecture. We walked in. Hundreds of people were already sitting in meditative pose as a small group of singers rendered devotional numbers. The setting was, without doubt, impressive.

A few minutes later, the man - the new-age guru - walked in.

The earnest followers, more than six-hundred of them, stood up and welcomed him with rhythmic applause. Dressed in immaculate white robes and sporting a well-groomed beard, he received the welcome with grace. The initial words of blessing over, the audience sat down. I enjoyed observing the audience as much as I enjoyed observing the man who now became the cynosure of thousands of eyes.

All was fine till now, and then the questions began. And with every answer, my sense of wonder as to how millions could buy such views increased. He sounded like a filmmaker who plays to the gallery in order to play safe. Give what the masses need and thrive. I don't have any problems with his being revered or his having millions of followers. Works for him; works for them; it's mutual. None of my business. I have problem, though, as regards categorisation. Why consider him a spiritual guru when he sounds every bit like just another management guru?

My friend kept checking if I fell for the man yet. He was pleased I hadn't yet decided to walk out. And then the decider happened. The question came from a concerned follower. He confessed he has an uneasy conscience of being a part of corporate fraud, and sought the guru's advice as to how to deal with it. I don't know how the guru's words can be taken as absolute, but I still sneakingly appreciated the chap who at least brought it to the fore (notwithstanding the fact that conscience is a most  unreliable faculty) than conveniently keep it under the carpet as majority do.

The audience comprised corporate crowd, so most of them could easily relate to the question. On hearing the question, the guru laughed and so did the audience. It was as if he knew what the audience wanted to hear and the audience, in turn, knew what the guru would answer. They need the guru's reassurance that "it's all fine" and the guru needs a repeat audience. A simple, predictable step in circus. All that mattered then was the execution - the guru just had to say it. And he did. "In this modern world, a little tact is necessary and especially so for businesses. Tricks are essential to beat competition and achieve success. It's nothing illegal. And you need a job to survive. So it's better to turn a blind eye to the failings and concentrate on your work and goals. That will be good for both you and your employer. Focus on your goals and success and you will be more happy that way".

When he finished, one heard a deafening applause.

They were just playing a game. I couldn't stand it anymore. I could take that answer from a management guru, not from someone who is considered in line with thinkers in the spiritual realm (for me, that answer is unthinkable coming from, say, a Vivekananda or Sankara). "I will walk for some time and wait at the car. You can join me whenever you are done", I told my friend. He found the abrupt move cranky, but he didn't show it beyond a quick frown of surprise. Gentleman that he is, he smiled and walked out along with me, though.

While the issue of corporate fraud (and how responsible an employee is, for the same) raises interesting ethical questions, the justifications that we adopt raises, to my mind, even more interesting ones. I don't pretend to have any answers myself, but the questions refuse to die. There are no easy takes on where one should draw the line. Regardless, that we so easily ignore, and even refuse to acknowledge, the absolute sham in society is certainly an uncomfortable fact. Even more saddening is the fact that we accept it as inevitable, conform with absolute ease, and readily justify it. Let it be endorsed by the authority of a guru or State or one's own self and it becomes all the more effortless! We are an incredibly clever species! 

It reminds me of a few insightful lines from The Reader:  

Societies think they operate by something called morality. But they don't. They operate by something called law. You're not guilty of anything merely by working at Auschwitz. 8,000 people worked at Auschwitz. Precisely 19 have been convicted, and only 6 for murder. To prove murder you have to prove intent. That's the law. Remember, the question is never 'Was it wrong?' but 'Was it legal?'

So the question that I must be asking myself is - "Do I have it in me to put the job in line if and when I realise I'm a part of corporate fraud? Do I have it in me to stand up for the right and turn back on the wrong, regardless of definitions and consequences, legal or otherwise?" Yet, it has a loophole. The loophole is that the words right and wrong are subjective, as long as one is caught in thought! Nonetheless, the real test of education, passion and intelligence is, to my mind, in asking those questions that we never did or were always afraid to ask. And, importantly, in never seeking answers!

1 Dec 2009

Garden of Dreams

Posted by Oblivion in Poetry | 6:39pm

on this path
strewn with his dreams
her nimble feet danced
with steps soft

deluge of joy
rained from the heaven
soaking the lonely heart
in boundless love

rapt with glee
the soul heard life speak
the promise of bliss
in whispers mute

clasp of hands
was a walk on clouds
a life so rich before
never he felt

eyes so serene
and face most beautiful
no music more melodious
than her laughter

soul a fragment
blessed by her glances
and her silken touch
made now complete

the ecstatic soul
drunk to absolute brim
with her words most sweet
indeed, most sweet

lush with blooms
was the garden of dreams
and he knew no world
else than her

odes to love
that defied the world
sang the fleeting time
and ceased quite

fate most vile
and a god utterly mean
alas! helpless he watched
plunder of dreams

tears in eyes
agony in the broken heart
pain extreme shall haunt
every moment hence

who would believe
here was a precious garden
that now is barren dust
with memories yet

hapless the soul
longing for hers, with
pangs of the aching heart
aflame in love