Dream

Caught In The Flow Of Life

Breaking free and blooming…
[Image by Rae Wallis from Pixabay]
बन्दिनी/Bandini (A lady who is in bondage)

Tied to a drunkard good-for-nothing husband, Ma seems to be ready to cross the bridge today, yes she is, I saw it in her eyes, she spoke a different language that silenced him, my so-called father. And we will walk away… away from him, away from poverty… Ma, I promise…

Alas, on returning home, the son found his mother packing bags… she, a ‘bandini’, is ready to follow her old husband to their old village… a broken hut on a parched land awaits her… her home.


पदम्लता का सपना/Padamlata’s Dream

…क्या पदम्लता ज़िन्दगी में फिर कभी सोनापलाशी गाँव की मिटटी पर पैर नहीं रखेगी? जिसका बचपन केशोर्य यहीं बीता हो। सुख शांति और गौरव न सही, दुःख अपमान की समृति का भी अलग ही एक आकर्षण होता है। हो सकता है अपने आपको एक बार प्रतिष्ठित करने की गुप्त इच्छा सात साल बाद दुर्दमनीय  हो उठी पदम्लता में।

जोदू लाहिड़ी के घर खाना बनाने वाली ब्राह्मणी की लड़की ‘पोदी’ को सहसा पदम्लता के वेश में आविर्भूत होते देखकर सोनापलाशी के वाशिंदे कितने अवाक होंगे, इसे देखने की भयंकर इच्छा – जिसे सात सालों तिल-तिल करके पालती आ रही थी पदम्लता…

-पदम्लता का सपना

In the corner of the open veranda, little Podi slept close to her mother, boldly showing her back to the cold winters that kept prodding her. When her running nose and childhood got cured itself and bloomed into a beautiful young Padamlata, people couldn’t believe it nor could they believe when she got married. How did the old maid managed to marry little Podi? That too to a school master?

Word has it that Padamlata has turned into gold… she is a walking, talking bank… one who doesn’t believe in “interests”. Wide-eyed, jealous, in awe… the folks of Sonapalashi village are witnessing this role reversal speechlessly, they speak up only to welcome Padamlata, singing her praises and remembering her late mother.

Padamlata’s dream has come true, elated, she wants nothing more. But back home, her husband has gone bankrupt. His savings, he hid well in the house, are gone.

Exactly how much? Ask Padamlata, for she had secretly taken an amount to Sonapalashi before leaving.

सिक्योरिटी जमा करने के लिए घर-दवार ज़मीन-जायदाद यथा सर्वस्व बेचकर जो दो हज़ार रूपए इकठा किए थे, वह रूपया चोरी चला गया है।  तुम तो जानती हो, चोरों के डर से बक्से में न रखकर, रज़ाई रखने के टाँड पर रुपए की थैली छिपाकर राखी थी, लेकिन वहाँ भी चोर की नज़र कैसे पड़ी, यही आश्चर्य हो रहा है।

मेरा विश्वास है, यह रिश्ते के शत्रुओं  का काम है।

-पदम्लता का सपना

Caught in knots.
[Image by Pavel from Pixabay]
शोक/Shok (Mourning)

Old and ailing mother-in-law is no more, said the telegram early in the morning, just when Mr. Ji was leaving for the office. Imagining how Mrs. Ji will breakdown, shake mountains, tear rivers apart, he left to get his salary first, and later balance the personal world. He left only after tiptoeing to the window, keeping the telegram above the magazine, that too had arrived this morning.

Mrs. Ji unaware, walks to the room, finds the telegram as well as the magazine there; dumbstruck after reading about her mother’s death, she forgets to cry. There is no one around to acknowledge her absolute shock and pain. Her four months old son is crying in the kitchen, she rushes to tend to him.

Ashamed to reach home too late, Mr. Ji finds that Mrs. Ji has apparently not found the telegram; he finally breaks the news to Mrs. Ji, wondering if she hasn’t read it, how come the telegram shifted its place from sitting above to below the magazine and got a yellow spot of turmeric on it.


बेकसूर/Bekasoor (Innocent)

An open and shut case, thanks to so many witnesses who had not seen anything clearly, yet were sure how the business man’s son killed his wife in the darkness of late night by pushing her from the first floor. These witnesses, business man’s close relatives/rivals, had travelled via tram, ran and walked and persuaded the girl’s father to file an FIR before even seeing the dead girl’s face once.

The girl’s father, furious at first, wanting his son-in-law to be hanged immediately, realises it one day that his daughter’s old habit of sleepwalking got the best of her. The sun-in-law was not guilty.


Ablaze and silent…
[Source – Pixabay]
दियासिलाई का डिब्बा/Matchbox

That her suspicious husband read her letter before she could find out, yes, he read it yet again, read it shamelessly and tried to justify his stand, blaming her mother for always asking for money, probably assuming him to be a bank… sparked a fire within her.

Even though she turned this letter and her mother’s request for more money into ashes within herself, she couldn’t swallow her husband’s cold taunt, maybe 100th taunt and began to spit fire.

The smoke could have smothered the husband, but the joint family life quietly quelled this fire, that too unknowingly.

Entering the kitchen with a smile, engaging herself instantly, the wife didn’t let anyone guess that she had been on fire just a while ago.

A woman can also be like a matchbox…


कह न सकेंगे/Keh Na Sakenge (Speechless)

Back quite late, he is questioned by all – his wife, elder son, younger daughter – everyone who is at home. Irked to say the least, his behaviour irked the others. The old chap had come quietly, said he won’t eat and went to bed, then came to the kitchen to finish his dinner… But who is not at home?

His wife declares, as usual, that she will wait for their younger son to return. Slightly worried for him as protests and riots have erupted in the Calcutta city.

Who is not at home? The one who shouted at everyone in the tram and asked to de-board? One of the rioters? Because of whom the old chap, with aching knees, ran to a corner? In hiding he heard gun-shots and then heard someone describe a beautiful young boy with curly hair who had been hit.

The old chap, at home, remembers the sound of the gun shots and goes mum.


Words guide the confused…
[Image by Jon Hoefer from Pixabay]
रीफिल खत्म होता एक डॉटपेन/Refill Khatam Hota Ek Dot Pen (Faulty Pen)

The whole day went in looking for grandma, but when did someone saw her stepping out of the puja room… she left without having her morning tea… not possible… run-run-run… no, not on the terrace or in the backyard speaking to the gardener, not at any of the neighbours’ place, or at the temple, not at her brother’s or sister’s house, not at the ghat or the bazaar… this double storey house has come to a standstill… elder son went to the office nevertheless… he has a government service unlike the younger son who is naturally expected to wait… late-late-late… assigning duties to others and he left… daughters-in-law tackled the chores and the inquisitive neighbours, relatives alike… when kids came home from the school, one spoke, “grandma must have gone to end her life…” and showed a note… grandma had tried to scribble something on it… “but the dot pen stopped working“, said the kid and laughed… the world swirled and the time became stiff as everyone took notice of it… late in the evening they heard grandma’s voice… she was bargaining with the rickshaw-wala… both her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren came running… she laughed and said she had gone to visit a temple… that is on the outskirts of the Calcutta city…

The family took a sigh of relief… and so did the grandmother…


The illustrious Ashapurna Devi. (1909 -1995)
[Source – eyramagazine.com]

Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1994), Jnanpith Award and Padam Shri (1976), Ashapurna Devi was an eminent Indian writer who wrote in Bengali. She had the knack for writing realistic, powerful characters, all caught in the flow of life, facing, choosing, accepting, neglecting, forgetting, overcoming, surrendering to the drama… the drama called life.

Read more about her here.


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Tughlaq in the Library – Part II

Review
Read Tughlaq in the Library – Part I here.

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The siege of Daulatabad (April-June 1633).
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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But the play is more than a political allegory. It has an irreducible, puzzling quality which comes from the ambiguities of Tughlaq’s character, the dominating figure in the play. All the other characters are dramatized aspects of his complex personality, yet they also exist in their own right. Kannada critics have made detailed analyses of the play, paying special attention to the symbolism of the game of chess, the theme of disguise, the ironic success of Aziz whose amazing story runs parallel to Tughlaq’s, and the dualism of the man and the hero in Tughlaq, which is the source of the entire tragedy. Yet no critical examination of the play can easily exhaust its total meaning for the reader, because the play has, finally, an elusive and haunting quality which it gets from the character of Tughlaq who has been realized in great psychological depth. But it would be unjust to say that the play is about an ‘interesting’ character, for the play relates the character of Tughlaq to philosophical questions on the nature of man and the destiny of a whole kingdom which a dreamer like him controls.

Introduction, U. R. Anantha Murthy

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[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

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Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, in the play, commits to actions with a confidence of a master player, one who is certain of the ending, one who is far sighted somewhat like an ominous oracle – a skilful, wise puppeteer who runs the show singlehandedly, unaware and forgetful of his involvement in the drama.

People unlike puppets, even though tied to strings, quietly keep gathering the power to pull down and topple the king puppeteer, they always do.

The echo of a future that reached Tughlaq’s ears, the making of history that Tughlaq could see so clearly was nothing but an illusion, a time bound vision, a trick that tricked him.

Sure about a glorious tomorrow, he dragged his people along towards it – an ever evading tomorrow.

Sultan’s experiments done so as to unite the country as one, to build an ideal powerful state, failed pathetically, leading the kingdom to anarchy. With a staunch eye on greatness, Tughlaq couldn’t manoeuvre without ‘murdering’ the stubborn present – the present, so full of the past, so treasured by his subjects.

Subjects who wrote hate-letters, full of rebukes, all addressed to the Sultan.


Let us meet Tughlaq, whom we first met in the library, who is now placed, by the playwright, on the chess board and the game has begun –

Scene One

Old Man: You can go to the Kazi-i-Mumalik for small offences. But who do you appeal to against such madness?

Third Man: This is tyranny! Sheer tyranny! Move the capital to Daulatabad! Such things never happened in his father’s days – may his soul rest in peace. Now he’s got his father’s throne. He isn’t happy with that and—

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Tughlaq has set up the court of Chief Justice in the capital where people can file a suit against the officers of State or even the Sultan.

He talks about justice and equality after accepting the Kazi’s verdict; he declares to compensate and offers a post in the Civil Service for the Brahmin who had appealed against his land being seized illegally by the State.

The humanistic monologue ends with Tughlaq announcing his well-thought and thoroughly discussed decision of shifting the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad and without waiting for a reaction or a bird to fly by, he leaves.

The shocked public worries if their worst nightmare will come true – what are they to do? The guard shoos them away shouting “Go home! The show’s over!”

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Aazam: Anyway, why did you have to dress up in these ungodly clothes? Couldn’t you have come like a proper Muslim?

Aziz (scandalized): But then what would happen to the King’s impartial justice? A Muslim plaintiff against a Muslim King? I mean, where’s the question of justice there? Where’s the equality between Hindus and Muslims? If on the other hand the plaintiff’s a Hindu… well, you saw the crowds.

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Aziz, a thug, disguised as the Brahmin, seeking justice from the Kazi, truly understands Sultan’s ‘impartial justice’; playing along with the Sultan, he makes use of the State’s scheme and presents the Sultan a chance to make use of him – Sultan gets the tag of a “fair ruler” and in turn, Aziz makes some money.

Throughout the play Aziz maintains the stance that no one knows the wise Sultan as much as he does because it is only he who participates in the Sultan’s game.

Aziz will, sooner or later, dare to check-mate the Sultan, will he win?


Scene Two

Muhammad Tughlak orders his brass coins to pass for silver, A.D. 1330.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Step-Mother (bursts into laughter): I don’t know what to do with you. I can’t ask a simple question without your giving a royal performance.

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Tughlaq’s step mother is his confidant; well aware about his burdens, the Step-Mother always urges him to slow down and more importantly, to make every move not in secret, not from her.

The Step-Mother too is playing alongside the Sultan, sometimes delicately trying to use him as a game-piece, but never showing it. The crime of patricide and fratricide hangs heavily on the Sultan’s soul; the Step-Mother never brings this up, never, unless it is required to make an impact.

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Muhammad: Surely a historian doesn’t need an invitation to watch history take shape! Come, Barani, what does he say?

Barani: It’s as Your Majesty said… He says the Sultan is a disgrace to Islam.

Muhammad: That’s all? I could find worse faults in me. What else?

Silence.

Najib: He says Your Majesty has forfeited the right to rule, by murdering your father and brother at prayer time.

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First Tughlaq makes praying five times a day compulsory, then he completely bans praying in his kingdom, only to wait in the end for a messiah to bring back pious prayers for his doomed subjects.

Like a devotee crossing all boundaries – that of life too – to connect with the almighty, Tughlaq crossed all boundaries to win over the almighty.

The far-off dream seemed the biggest truth to him and making sacrifices the only way towards it.


Scene Three to Five

Muhammad: No one can go far on his knees. I have a long way to go. I can’t afford to crawl – I have to gallop.

Imam-Ud-Din: And you will do it without the Koran to guide you? Beware, Sultan, you are trying to become another God. It’s a sin worse than patricide.

Muhammad (refusing the bait): Only an atheist can try to be God. I am God’s most humble slave.

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One Sultan, one dream, one decision, and what did the thousand eyes see – bloodshed or sacrifice, deceits or promises, Delhi or Daulatabad? Perhaps they couldn’t see clearly, perhaps they were hungry – for prayers or food?

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Shihab-Ud-Din: I’m sorry. But you have never liked the Sultan, I don’t know why. After all that he has done for the Hindus –

Ratan Singh: Yes indeed, who can deny that! He is impartial! Haven’t you heard about the Doab? He levied such taxes on the poor farmers that they preferred to starve. Now there’s a famine there. And of course Hindus as well as Muslims are dying with absolute impartiality.


Scene Six to Eight

Daulatabad Fort, Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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Moving stealthily ahead, like an animal approaching its prey, Tughlaq finds it hard to remember that he is not an animal. Playing the game too well, he begins to lose the grip on reality; shuffling strategies, imposing with a hope to win once again.

Muhammad: I could have killed you with a word. But I like you too much.

Stabs him. Then almost frenzied, goes on stabbing him. Hits out at Shihab-Ud-Din’s dead body with a ferocity that makes even the soldiers holding the body turn away in horror.

Barani: Your Majesty – he’s dead!

Muhammad stops, then flings the dagger away in disgust.

Muhammad (anguished): Why must this happen, Barani? Are all those I trust condemned to go down in history as traitors? What is happening? Tell me, Barani, will my reign be nothing more than a tortured scream which will stab the night and melt away in the silence?


Scene Nine

Aziz, the thug, awaits a chance to be in the centre, right in front of the king; to be there not as a pawn, rook or knight, but to be invited by the Sultan himself, to be revered – he plans to replace Ghiyasud-din Muhammad, a saint.

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Aazam (giggles): So you want power, do you? What do you want to be, a Sultan?

Aziz: Laugh away, stupid. You’ll soon see. It all depends on whether Karim will bring the goods.

Aazam (seriously): But, no, Aziz, why are you so dissatisfied? We have such a nice establishment here. We take enough money from travellers and the other robbers are scared to death of you. There’s no limit to what we can make here.

Aziz: I am bored stiff with all this running and hiding. You rob a man, you run and hide. It’s all so pointless. One should be able to rob a man and then stay there to punish him for getting robbed. That’s called ‘class’ – that’s being a real king!


Scene Ten to Twelve

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Unlike the game of chess, the king wages a war against his own people; wounded and hurt, he tortures himself by giving his step-mother the death sentence.

Step-Mother: You had your share of futile deaths. I have mine now.

Muhammad (shouting): No, they were not futile. They gave me what I wanted – power, strength to shape my thoughts, strength to act, strength to recognise myself. What did your little murder give you?

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The Step-Mother too wanted power, power to rule Sultan’s heart and mind and through him the Sultanate; Tughlaq knew it, but couldn’t accept it anymore, not after she had Najib, the royal adviser, poisoned.

Muhammad: God, God in Heaven, please help me. Please don’t let go of my hand. My skin drips with blood and I don’t know how much of it is mine and how much of others.


Scene Thirteen

Aziz is finally face to face his idol, unafraid and gleefully meek, he praises every move of the Sultan, revealing it to him unabashedly who all profited from his ‘just schemes’ – some goons like him and the generous Sultan himself.

The only character who manages to break Tughlaq’s dream and show him the ugly reality, the present that is far off from his historically grand future. He brings forth the truth as a twist.

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Barani: This man should be buried alive this minute!

Aziz: I only acted according to His Majesty’s edicts.

Muhammad (exploding): Hold your tongue, fool! You dare pass judgement on me? You think your tongue is so light and swift that you can trap me by your stupid clowning? Let’s see how well it wages when hanging from the top of a pole. I haven’t cared for the bravest and wisest of men – you think I would succumb to you? A dhobi, masquerading as a saint?

Aziz (quietly): What if I am a dhobi, Your Majesty? When it comes to washing away filth no saint is a match for a dhobi.

Muhammad suddenly bursts into a guffaw. There is a slight hysterical tinge to the laughter.

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Aziz wins without check-mating the king – his life is spared and a job in the deccan is offered by the Sultan – as he seals a deal to continue fooling the crowd for a while and then to vanish. He makes the king adhere to his wish.

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Judgement day!
[Source – Pixabay]

Muhammad: If justice was as simple as you think or logic as beautiful as I had hoped, life would have been so much clearer. I have been chasing these words now for five years and now I don’t know if I am pursuing a mirage or fleeing a shadow. Anyway what do all these subtle distinctions matter in the blinding madness of the day? Sweep your logic away into a corner, Barani, all I need now is myself and my madness – madness to prance in a field eaten bare by the scarecrow violence. But I am not alone, Barani. Thank Heaven! For once I am not alone. I have a Companion to share my madness now – the Omnipotent God! (Tired.) When you pass your final judgement on me, don’t forget Him.

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Barani, the historian, Sultan’s only friend, prepares to leave Daulatabad; Tughlaq will soon be all alone in the magnificent palace, alone with his deeds and this terrifies him.

As a king Tughlaq took responsibility of his subjects, confident of his vision, that when it breaks, he knows he has fallen and with him, so has his people. The cries, chaos, mayhem follow him like his shadow.

But if not a king, yet a ruler, a group of elected rulers, what does responsibility of the citizens mean to them? Who falls, if they fall? What do their shadows sound like?

The play ends with the fake Ghiyasud-din Muhammad performing at the prayer time in the background (Muezzin’s call to the prayer is heard), Tughlaq, sitting on his throne, takes a short nap, then suddenly wakes up unsure of the place or time.

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Stories

Poem

Phases: A Collection of Poetry

A phase is defined as any stage in a series of events or a process of development; while we all go through different phases in life, at times we either forget to notice or simply become fearful of transitions, inadvertently being ignorant about the fact that this phenomenon is universal. In this short poetry collection, the blogger has attempted to capture this subtle yet powerful phenomenon – phases that are observable in every journey undertaken.

Here’s the first poem –

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The LIBRARY!
[Source – Pixabay]

Stories

Once upon a time began a story,

One that preceded the old granny’s,

Kind of majestic, kind of silly…

The story glanced at the human tale

And built the drama of our coming-of-age;

Cultural riches, potions, a legacy in storage

That led the imaginative heart’s dream

To fly high until detained by authority,

That questioned before listening

And answered before knowing.

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Stories adorn with garlands these phases

Of mankind, the world and the universe’s,

Weaving powerful parallel universes

In stories after stories after stories.

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The Matrix, Our Home and The Second Option

Article

Have You Ever Had A Dream, Neo, That You Were So Sure Was Real?

Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)

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The ‘sci’ route.
[Source – Pixabay]

Our world, our home, this table, that apple forms our reality… what we experience is the reality and déjà vu is déjà vu… or is it?

What if the funky sci-fi stories are correct? What if we are living in a simulation?

Taking just the ‘sci’ route for now, we move ahead.

Definition says – “A simulation imitates the operation of real world processes or systems with the use of models. The model represents the key behaviours and characteristics of the selected process or system while the simulation represents how the model evolves under different conditions over time.”


Nick Bostrom, a contemporary philosopher, in his seminal paper ‘Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?’ published in Philosophy Quarterly (2003) argues that at least one of the following propositions is true –

(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

This galvanizing thought, also explored in literature, reached the masses, in leather-overcoat-black-shades defining manner, via the 1999 blockbuster film, The Matrix.

In a cyberpunk style, The Matrix, fantastically paints a futuristic grim image of us all ignorantly trapped/living in a simulation. But this world fluctuates as there is a ‘Neo’ hero and an ‘Agent’ villain and also a Polestar named Morpheus; while the villain manipulates, dulls and destroys, the hero trusts the revolution and liberates.

A journey with a final destination, the film knows where to end.

A hypothesis doesn’t worry about endings, it is simply and honestly a hypothesis; like one shared by Nick Bostrom, a straightforward, happy philosopher.

He states –

Proposition (1) doesn’t by itself imply that we are likely to go extinct soon, only that we are unlikely to reach a posthuman stage. This possibility is compatible with us remaining at, or somewhat above, our current level of technological development for a long time before going extinct. Another way for (1) to be true is if it is likely that technological civilization will collapse. Primitive human societies might then remain on Earth indefinitely.

There are many ways in which humanity could become extinct before reaching posthumanity. Perhaps the most natural interpretation of (1) is that we are likely to go extinct as a result of the development of some powerful but dangerous technology…

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Converging naturally.
[Source – Pixabay]

The second alternative in the simulation argument’s conclusion is that the fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor‐ simulation is negligibly small. In order for (2) to be true, there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations…

What force could bring about such convergence? One can speculate that advanced civilizations all develop along a trajectory that leads to the recognition of an ethical prohibition against running ancestor‐simulations because of the suffering that is inflicted on the inhabitants of the simulation…

Another possible convergence point is that almost all individual posthumans in virtually all posthuman civilizations develop in a direction where they lose their desires to run ancestor‐simulations.

This would require significant changes to the motivations driving their human predecessors, for there are certainly many humans who would like to run ancestor‐simulations if they could afford to do so. But perhaps many of our human desires will be regarded as silly by anyone who becomes a posthuman…

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Palpable and true…?
[Source – Pixabay]

The possibility expressed by alternative (3) is the conceptually most intriguing one. If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence. The physics in the universe where the computer is situated that is running the simulation may or may not resemble the physics of the world that we observe. While the world we see is in some sense “real”, it is not located at the fundamental level of reality. It may be possible for simulated civilizations to become posthuman. They may then run their own ancestor‐simulations on powerful computers they build in their simulated universe.

Such computers would be “virtual machines”, a familiar concept in computer science. (Java script web‐applets, for instance, run on a virtual machine – a simulated computer – inside your desktop.) Virtual machines can be stacked: it’s possible to simulate a machine simulating another machine, and so on, in arbitrarily many steps of iteration.

If we do go on to create our own ancestor‐simulations, this would be strong evidence against (1) and (2), and we would therefore have to conclude that we live in a simulation. Moreover, we would have to suspect that the posthumans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings; and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings. Reality may thus contain many levels…

In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).


Talking about the second option, how wonderfully sublime, explicit yet indefinite it is? “Ethics”, Nick Bostrom, matter-of-factly, talks about ethics. That the post-human civilisation may find it ethically wrong or simply may not be interested in undertaking such “ancestor-simulations” is superbly intriguing.

Flood-gates of what is bright and reverberating distinctly, incessantly somewhere, suddenly leaves us with a promise – its nature and terms we know not as yet for we are too far away.

But this gratifying simple thought present as the second option balances and bridges the other two, quite possible, extremes, as if it knows the truth, as if it is the truth … while we wait and work our way towards…

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Fate, It Seems, Is Not Without A Sense Of Irony.

Morpheus  (The Matrix, 1999)

Download and read Nick Bostrom’s complete simulation argument now –

Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?

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Read a comprehensive article about the simulation theory here.


Also, listen to Stephan West’s coverage of Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument.


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O Apache!

One summer gleaming morning, back in the 90s, a musician woke up, looked at the world maze and its commuters when a rapturous beat filled his mind… it was a fusion, a fusion of ragga and bhangra beats… the musician knew it was the time to sweetly twist the great razzmatazz of the world maze drama.

And so Apache Indian, the British Indian singer and reggae DJ, mixing cultures, tunes and beliefs, London to India via Jamaica, created a new wave that danced its way into stiff-grumpy-busy society’s heart. His funky hybrid tracks spoke bluntly but always with the spirit to bring a change.

Staying true to its roots – the reggae music genre is known to attack social evils – Apache Indian tried to arrest some fanatic dogmas and set free our handicapped progress.

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“High caste low caste, we don’t want that,

Everyone equal, let us decide that.

High caste low caste, Sanu ni chahida (we don’t want that),

Saare jaane barabar (we are all equal), Maano rab da kehna (listen to the one God).”

Caste System – Apache Indian; Album – Nuff Vibes

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“Caste System”, “Arranged Marriage”, “Aids Warning”, “Election Crisis” are some tracks that talk about an era and some persistent crippling ideas, all composed in an upbeat style. The very vigorous sounds of bhangra beats give these songs a desi, identifiable and yet refreshing touch; the east and the west amalgamates beautifully.

Then the peppy catchy dance numbers like “Boom Shack-A-Lak”, “Chok There”, “Don Raja”, “Ragamuffin Girl”, “Jump Up”, and “Celebrate” call out to all the listeners to enjoy the moment.

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No.1 in a the Bombay chart
Indian me a tear them apart
When me come me bring a new stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me
Chok there – them a ball when they see the Indian
Chok there – raggamuffin under style and pattern
Chok there – when me come that a different fashion
First tune a say me do no it reach No.1
In a the reggae charts and the Indian
Chok there – see me face upon the television
Chok there – hear me voice pon the radio station
Promotor them a come them a rub off them hand
Keeping a session and them want it fe ram
Chok there – put me name pon the invitation
Chok there – pon the gate go raise a million
Me bring a brand new style upon the Island
Fe the black a fe white and a fe the Indian
So each and everyone come follow fashion

Chok there – dip your knee cork out you bottom
Chok there – everyone in a the Bhangra fashion
Nuff DJ them a have a fe them own stylee
Some a wa da dong deng same a come follar me
And some a them a say Oh Lord a mercy
Pnumina ick pnumina do and also in a three
But anytime me came me bring a brand stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me…


Chok There; Songwriters: Simon Duggal, Diamond Duggal, Steven Kapur aka Apache Indian; Album – No Reservations

Experimenting freely and successfully, Apache Indian collaborated with many artists worldwide, from Sean Paul, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Boy George to A. R Rahman, Asha Bhosle, Bally Sagoo, SteroNation and Jazzy B.

True to his craft – music is all about innovation – Apache Indian continues to create fusion music, uniting converse genres, fostering harmony.

It was in the 90s, a summer dream that came true… not a super-sonic era, but moving towards one, grooving and listening to Apache Indian’s music… that was created with a hope, adding a little bit of this and that to ragamuffin magic, a hope to become better… a hope that is still alive.

O Apache, we are listening.


Some of Apache Indian’s popular tracks –







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Arthdal Chronicles: Unfolding of the Epic Saga

TV Show Analysis

A legend unfolds,

Behold,

The mighty revelation.

Epics, narrative grand poems that celebrate the feats of a hero, and Sagas, narrative prose that deals with social histories and legends, bring forth the magnificent magical miraculous in stories to remind us of the distant charming dream we so often dream; the dream where we always win the battle.

Such heroic stories colour our humdrum thoughts, cheering the spirit’s faith in wonders.

Believing in wonders is vital for it steers us to explore life more keenly and sanguinely; our cherished wonders, packed neatly in stories, passed from generation to generation, create our mythologies.

Mythology is psychology, misread as cosmology, history, and biography.” — The Flight of the Wild Gander (1951)

by Joseph Campbell

The heroic stories, the epics and sagas, the mythologies continue to bridge the gap between the normal and the astonishing, to collect various truths sans embellishments, to fuel the burning time and to mentor the individual who approaches it.

Approaching the epics and sagas via an audiovisual means is not an offence; rather it is advantageous for all those who believe in it.

Arthdal Chronicles is an epic saga that has attempted to present Act I of mankind’s complicated story, a thoroughly entertaining and gripping version of how the journey began.

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Season One – Poster [Source – kpopmap.com]

Arthdal Chronicles is a South Korean fantasy drama TV series that takes us back to the Bronze Age in a mythical land named Arth, where different human species and tribes struggle to be on the top of the power pyramid. The tribes which are technically advanced win over the ones which are not; fear of gods and goddesses help in ruling over the masses. In the chaos of battles and betrayals, the hero, as foretold by the seers, rises amongst the so-called barbarians to win his love and tribe back.

What is fascinating is the fact that in Arthdal Chronicles the writers have given every single one of the main characters, not one but many archetypal characteristics making them grey in the purest sense. These characters drive the already-active plot making it an engaging watch.

Meet the five main characters of the series –

(Spoiler Alert – if you do not wish to know the secrets in advance then please watch the show first, though I assure you that this analysis will not tarnish your experience of watching the series.)

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[Source – kpopmap.com]

Ta-gon

The Warrior/ The King/ The Dictator/ The Intellectual/ The Lover

Ta-gon is an excellent warrior; his war tactics bring victory for the Sarem tribe making them more powerful. His secret, that he is an Igutu (mixed blood species), is his strength and weakness. The king, his father, repents not killing him as a child – a traumatic moment that shapes Ta-gon’s persona. His father stations him always on the battlefield, keeping him occupied fighting and winning endless battles, taking over more and more land, getting more salves in return.

Aware of his father’s scheme, Ta-gon plays the game of politics shrewdly and with the help of his loyal Daekan warriors overthrows his father and becomes the King of the entire kingdom. Unafraid to do the blasphemous, the terrible, Ta-gon kills his father and framers an outsider – Eun-Seom.

Ta-gon makes sure no voice rises against him. He becomes the king and very soon a dictator – for he still has a major opponent to defeat – the religious guru Aasa Ron – against whom he could not declare an open war (not unless he has secured his position).

An atypical lover, Ta-gon promises his love, Tae Al-ha, that whatever happens, they will never sacrifice themselves for each other; both tired of acting as pawns for the men in power, they decide to free themselves from this bonded life.  Tae Al-ha plays a very important role in Ta-gon’s victories as she understands the political game only too well.

While maintaining his outer image as an indomitable King, Ta-gon prefers to compromise rather than quit. He is an intellectual, a wise man who knows when to recede and when to attack.

When such a complex character is situated in a volatile scenario, explosions are bound to happen. The character growth that we witness in Ta-gon – from a warrior to a king to a dictator to a fallen hero yet not fully defeated – makes him a real, three-dimensional character.

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[Source – kpopmap.com]

Tae Al-ha

The Queen/ The Femme Fatale/ The Backstabber/ The Lover/ The Protector

One of the strongest characters in this series is Tae Al-ha, daughter of Mehol (whose tribe has the authority over all the technical advancements), Ta-gon’s love interest whom the King i.e. Ta-gon’s father, also proposes for marriage.

She is intelligent, courageous and calculative. A natural leader, she is a perfect contender to be a Queen.

Tae Al-ha desires to win the entire Arthdal Kingdom and rule it along with Tagon. For this she manipulates, tricks and kills; at times like a Femme Fatale she spies for her father and brings all the information that he wants to know about Ta-gon and his father; playing the game all along, revealing only that what must be revealed.

Until the time when his father’s plan does not hold any threat for Ta-gon, she like an obedient servant works assiduously for him, but when her father tells her that to maintain his camaraderie with the ruler, their next step would involve Ta-gon’s sacrifice, Tae Al-ha backstabs her father and takes Ta-gon’s side.

She tells her father that she has chosen a path for herself and that path will take her and Ta-gon to the throne.

As the story progresses, her and Ta-gon’s love story also progresses; she knows all his secrets; she is the one who brought up his child (the Igutu child he had found abandoned in the jungle); she is a true lover and protector as she saves Ta-gon from every threat, albeit her strong personality, her clever solutions to the problems and shrewdness keep us guessing if she is actually on anyone’s side.

Later in this series, Tae Al-ha fights the soldiers who are sent by Asa Ron (the religious leader) to kill Ta-gon; she gets badly injured but does not quit until she finishes each one of them.

Ta-gon and Tae Al-ha fall and rise together, determined throughout to win the kingdom of Arthdal.

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[Source – kpopmap.com]

Eun-Seom

The Hero/ The Messiah/ The Punisher/ The Protector/ The Innocent/ The Star-crossed Lover

Eun-Seom is very much like the classic mythological hero –at times like Krishna & at times like Christ- born in tumultuous times, is raised away from his home town, brought up by outsiders, different from the normal kids of his age, capable of doing the impossible, righteous and smart, who grows up to be the saviour of not only his tribe but all the suffering souls.

Here, Eun-seom is on a ‘Hero’s Journey’ where his adventure has begun and he is facing crisis back to back; death threatens and revives him; after undergoing an internal transformation he continues with his journey.

Slave trade is prevalent in this world and Eun-seom, betrayed by one of his own, is sold as a salve. Trapped in a mine, digging day and night, collecting precious stones, Eun-seom, feeling cheated and lonely, slowly regains his strength and rises back to fight and frees not only his friends but the rest of the slaves as well.

He like a Messiah saves the victims and like a Punisher destroys the evil-doers. It is Eun-seom who asks the warring tribes to unite if they wish to stand against the powerful lords.

In the series, he is often hailed as Aramun Haseulla – the great god who first came on Arth and settled the first tribe, while later he is called Inaishingi – the leader who, 1000 years ago, united all the warring tribes as one.

Initially, Eun-seom is also a simpleton, an innocent person, who restrains from killing anyone, he hesitates to use his power (as being an Igutu he is more powerful than Homo Sapiens), but when he sees the ways of this new world, and how the weak are suffering, he changes and accepts that he cannot win from the technically advanced race without bloodshed; he understands there is just one sin in the world and that is to show weakness. Thus, he becomes the Protector for all those who join his cause and for them he fights and kills without flinching.

Eun-seom’s character grows, he learns how corrupt this world is, a complete opposite of Iark (the place where he has grown-up); while he is in search of his true identity, his main focus remains the same –to save Tan-ya, his love. The promise that he made to Tan-ya, helps him to survive every danger, the hope of meeting and rescuing Tan-ya fuels his spirit.

Both Tan-ya and Eun-seom were born on the same day, the day Azure Comet shined brightly in the sky; their destiny was sealed that day and thus, even when apart, their heartbeats for each other. They are star-crossed lovers who are destined to change the world forever.

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[Source – kpopmap.com]

Tan –ya

The Female Messiah/ The Punisher/ The Star-crossed Lover/ The Scapegoat

Tan-ya, the next Great Mother of Wahan Tribe, is also destined for great things, though initially, she does not picture herself doing anything of importance.

Her character arc develops quickly as soon her tribe is thrown in jeopardy, many die including her mother and thus, she takes the responsibility as the tribe’s Great Mother. She becomes the Female Messiah as she is the one who frees the remaining members of her tribe, including her father. She is forgiving but does not hesitate in punishing the evil-minded.

She is a nature lover and does not like living in Arthdal; she misses the simple lifestyle of Iark. She stands for her causes, loves her tribe and is willing to fight for them.

Often she and the other Wahan tribe members are used as the scapegoat in the series; when Ta-gon frames Eun-seom for his father’s murder, the public ostracises and attacks Tan-ya and her tribe. Until she becomes the high priest, she stays continuously under threat – Ta-gon, Tae Al-ha and Saya –all try to use her to achieve their ulterior motives. But Tan-ya is a fast learner, she starts understanding the structure of the power pyramid and outplays them all. She can no longer be used as a scapegoat or as a pawn.

Just as Eun-seom, Tan-ya is always thinking about him; she is worried if he will be able to survive in this new world; when Saya tells her that Eun-seom and other Wahan tribe members died in an uproar caused between salves and their lords, Tan-ya breaks down; she then decides not to give up and instead gain power to save the rest of her tribe and apologises Eun-Seom for not ending her life.

She and Eun-seom are a perfect example of the star crossed lover archetype, once separated, they do not get to meet in the first season, while they ceaselessly yearn for each other. Tan-ya before getting captured gives Eun-seom a name – dream – she tells him that he is her and her tribe’s dream, a dream that is meant to come true and so he will have to win.

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[Source – econotimes]

Saya

The Fool/ The Lover/ The Outcast/ The Intellectual

Saya is Eun-seom’s twin brother who was adopted by Ta-gon; he was brought up by Tae Al-ha and spent his childhood life trapped inside a tower. He is truly unpredictable as an individual – the Intellectual when he uses his knowledge (he is very well-read) and tricks Ta-gon and Tae Al-ha and helps Tan-ya to become the high priest, the Fool when he acts instinctively and makes mistakes (by declaring overtly that he is Ta-gon’s son) and a Lover when he for the first time does something, not for his personal but for Tan-ya’s interest.

Though he falls for Tan-ya, he repeatedly tells her lies (like Eun-seom is dead).

Saya is made to live the life of an Outcast; the fact that he is an Igutu and lives in the royal palace equals a serious crime. Ta-gon makes sure that he is locked up all the while; he wishes to use Saya as an Igutu loyal servant.

Full of mysteries, Saya acts as a devoted son, he fears Ta-gon and follows his instructions sincerely, but at times he reveals his anger and frustration and hatred towards Ta-gon and Tae Al-ha. He wants to break away and rule as the King. He can sense Tan-ya’s free spirit and wishes to be with her always.

By the end of the series, the world gets to know about his identity – that he is Ta-gon’s son – and his position becomes stronger as he and Tan-ya (the high priest) appear as a couple to the public. Though it is still not clear as to which side he truly belongs and what new plan he is hatching.

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The Arthdal Kingdom. [Source – kdramapal.com]

According to a prophecy, three powers that united and later will destroy the Arthdal kingdom are – a Sword (to slay the wicked), a Bell (to echo the Word of God) and a Mirror (to illuminate the world with truth) – Eun-seom, Tan-ya and Saya represent these three powers.

In season one, we cheer for these three characters (especially Eun-seom and Tan-ya) and thus, it will be interesting to see them as the destroyers, facing Ta-gon, Tae –Al-ha and the entire Arthdal kingdom.

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Watch Arthdal Chronicles to witness the unfolding of an epic saga.

Here is the trailer –


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Lissome Dream

Short Poem
The gentle, lissome dream.
Image by Dimitri Houtteman from Pixabay.

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Beyond bountiful thoughts of today,

Tomorrow and yesterday,

Lies the gentle, lissome dream…

Bright and blissful that scene,

Distant, imaginary if not seen.

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Take two drops, without fail, of zeal,

And Sunshine, keep turning the wheel,

Playing the circus game, yet untamed,

To become the dream you dreamed.

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Why should you keep your Dream Light on forever? Click here to find out.


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That Which Is Not Yet Is

Spirituality

Happy dandelions with yellow friends in the sun.
[Source – Pixabay]

This bright light that surrounds, that has soaked, that is soothing is one with me. This cottony soft memory is a truth. I breathe, I hear it.

A melodious tune played on the lyre flows in the air. We are all dancing to it.  

A sea of dandelions… Running as if I have wings, golden wings, I cross the sea. When did I start swirling? A gush of harmonious wind surprises me and I fall down, laughing loudly.  

The dream continues every time I quietly see this bright light.


A painting Dandelions in the Sun by Oleg Riabchuk also presents one with such a bright and beautiful dream.


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A Dream of Twin Rainbows

Poem
One, two… lucky you!
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

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My imagination is strong and hence I can see

The waterfalls, mesmerizing clouds and the ever working bees;

I am very much alive with a working clock

Hanging on the earthen, painted, plastic wall saying ‘tick-tock-tick-tock’;

My ears don’t bleed anymore and though my eyes are shy to blink,

I have learned to bar the command and hide behind a paused wink.

Master shouts and thunderbolts hit the wall,

Faking to cry and tremble, I try to make the cage fall.

Yes! I live in a cage! But I have a dream, a dream of twin rainbows.

I will one day fly towards it, crossing the ocean of dead vows,

There I will soulfully sing and freely dance and just be me…

My imagination is strong and hence I can see.

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Fantasy

Was it the past?
It was so fast
But at last
 
 
I felt
Like I dreamt
Easy mountain melt
 
 
Blink
To link
Vision reaching the brink.
 

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