When the road is lonely, sans the dirt, the thorns, the lightning and
Sans even the enemy’s fiery glare, the roaring army and
The check-mate, in such a land how do you walk without falling
Twice, thrice as if you are papier mache made, a smattering
Of vague profoundness, uniqueness, an idea of truth,
But unsure yet conforming like an uncouth.
Then, at last, thank god, it becomes foggy, and you stop
Keen-eyed you look, broadening the vision, reaching atop
A cliff overlooking a valley, smoky where it rests.
This journey afresh, towards a calling, arrests
Your mind and soul; finally, meeting the master, humbly you bow,
And that is lesson one, just so you know.
Practise patiently, practise patience, and o warrior
Gently turn your karate hands into morning sunlight carrier,
For those who live in the dark wake up late
With a grudge against the sun and zero tolerance to wait
For an old answer.
Gichin Funakoshi, founder of the Shotokan style of Karate, presented a martial arts philosophy that focused on perfecting the character of an individual. He believed that the karate practitioner should –
“purge oneself of selfish and evil thoughts… for only with a clear mind and conscience can the practitioner understand the knowledge which he receives. Funakoshi did not consider it unusual for a devotee to use Karate in a real physical confrontation no more than perhaps once in a lifetime. He stated that Karate practitioners must never be easily drawn into a fight.”
Karate-do Kyohan – The Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi
Karate then is a fine practice to live by, a practice that gives us clarity to turn the lost papier mache mind into a strong sunlight carrier.
Read more about our magical sun in the following short posts –
Dancing and chirping, posing, frolicking, a bird –now on this branch, now on that – living in Godard’s city in black and white 1957, knows not the language and yet doubts Patrick. And rightly so for that philanderer never hesitates; quick-witted, he charms the ladies into believing him and his stories and “well, it is just a coffee date”, he says casually.
Only later do they find – Charlotte and Veronique – why All the Boys Are Called Patrick, because they were talking about the same Patrick, that is why, and look here he goes, in a taxi, with another beauty.
The birdie dares and continues living while in Godard’s city in three back-to-back years – ’64,’65,’66 – the voices – twice in black and white and once in colour – speak the language of simultaneity… and of confusion, surplus, discrimination… expressing it through every medium, especially the medium called love.
Just see, simultaneously in love, out of love, whimsically, the next moment knowingly, executing the plan and fate’s execution, the Band of Outsiders – Arthur, Odile, Franz – dancing the Madison dance, breaking the Louvre record, firing gunshots, breakaway… winning and losing simultaneously.
Dance ‘the Madison dance’ along with the trio –
The Louvre record–
And meet the fool, Pierrot the Fool, who runs away in the search of and is chased by meaning. Along with his ex-girlfriend, Marianne, he protects everything new that he has accepted and acts, confidently and in confusion simultaneously.
Poor Pierrot’s search ends, finally, it does; he finds, though quite late, that he was wrong about Marianne and right about the bomb. But as said before, he was so late that… dhamaka!!!
Next year, in Godard city, the questions ‘he’ asked ‘her’ and the questions ‘she’ asked ‘him’ were all documented; the answers were young, naïve and in late teens and early twenties. Fun and spirit jarred the running time.
A singer, her two girlfriends, a lover, his journalist friend, elections, peace in Vietnam and everything in fashion voted in the favour of 1966 and against each other.
Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage), a 3D essay film is a mind-boggling experiment.
Speaking about all that we encounter in life – through a car’s windshield, superimposed images, from a stray dog’s POV, in the colour red, rose red – the narrator speculates, maybe, regarding the dearth of something crucial at the centre and our unobservant impatient nature.
Maybe it shows also the fast culture that admires and nurtures weak concentration. Maybe we have missed the train… but then we can always walk if we remember how to that is.
The fun part is that ‘adieu’ in some parts of Switzerland where French is spoken, the parts where the film was shot, may mean both goodbye and hello.
Godard’s Paris, the year 1960; a criminal, Michel, is absconding and in love with Patricia. The boulevards, narrow lanes, tricky corners, buildings, stairs, doors, rooms, windows are together mocking – in black and white – the seriousness attached to delayed decisions, and also, questioning the pettiness shown towards whims.
Before becoming a news headline, Michel lives a simple life of a goon with a free future in vision and a blurry present; blurry but sweet and tender, like a half-dream seen in a half-sleepy state.
Patricia, an aspirer, a daydreamer, not a native, asks a lot of questions –
“Have you been to Monte Carlo?”“No, Marseilles.”
“What is a horoscope?”“Horoscope? The Future. I wanna know the future. Don’t you?” “Sure.”
“Why are you so sad?”“Because I am.”“That’s silly.”
“What would you choose between grief and nothing?” “Grief is stupid. I’d choose nothing. It’s no better, but grief is a compromise. You have to go for all or nothing. I know that now.”
“What is your greatest ambition in life?” “To become immortal… and then die.”
See, she asks such questions and gets such replies from Michel and others, like Parvulesco, the French writer/ philosopher she interviews in the film. Not always coherent and never definite, the answers make Patricia smile.
The car, the coffee, the cigarette, the smoke, the sprint, the bullet gradually push Michel and Patricia to either take a decision or act whimsically.
They do both – a decision is made, a whim wins over – but the timing and consequences differ. The only similarity is that they both make a news headline-worthy move!
A simplified trailer of a mosaic film –
A simple storyline that Godard twisted and moulded anew every day before shooting, Breathless’ distinctive visual style, editing, character portrayal and life-like quirky humour made it one of the leading films of the metamorphic French New Wave cinema.
The film’s originality and unique construction, after so many eras, continue to reform the cinema.
Experimenting, exploring, challenging fearlessly, Jean-Luc Godard postulated, presented and celebrated a new film philosophy; trying to build a bond with the viewer, his films demand attention, awareness especially if a political joke is being shared or if lovers are looking London talking Tokyo or if life is shown getting a speeding ticket or if an absurd gesture appears twice and the viewer tries to copy just for fun…
“Au revoir, à la prochaine”, said the bird in French i.e. ‘goodbye, until next time’, for the bird has subscribed to an OTT platform where some of Godard’s films are streaming.
Cinema lovers, what’s the time?
Time to imitate Michel’s gesture from ‘Breathless’ where he is shown imitating his favourite American actor, Humphrey Bogart…
Translation – Do not delay when planning to do something good, but when inclining towards the opposite, think twice.
Contemplation is good and needed. Action is better and a must.
Plans in a potli-mind take time to come out, yes, for they are grand ones, created meticulously, weaved with love.
Inspired thoughts build this glass minar with intricate designs, colours of hope and success and appreciation and a little bit of all that is magical in this universe. We fly high when planning in a potli-mind.
Now how to fabricate such a tall glass minar in reality? Where to start from? How do we know if the time is right?
And what about all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’? Oh, and our dominating ‘know-it-all self’ that loves to put a stamp on every new thought, issuing summons, calling the poor thought a fraud, out-of-our-league or an impossibility, come what may?
Or worse, comparing it with the giant called the OTHERS?
Maybe this is the moment to tell yourself, shubhasya shighram, why wait to do something good.
Maybe this is the time to take the first step towards that glass minar, an overwhelming act it may feel at the beginning, but by the end, whatever the result is, we get enriched, we understand the rotating world and our bumbling selves a little better.
What a brilliant mantra then, a pocket sized mantra!
So, my friend, go ahead with that plan… because shubhasya shighram, shighram shighram.
Thinking… the activity of using our mind to consider something; the process of using our mind to understand matters, make judgments and solve problems… that is what the dictionary says and says more and then sites many lovely examples:
“I had to do some quick thinking.”
“She explained the thinking behind the campaign.”
“Thinking, for me, is hard work!”
Our mind, coloured by a plethora of this and that, happy and sad, a sea of information, thinks in isolation, yet always a part of the collective unconscious. And how wonderful is it that this tinted mind, nevertheless, is fully capable to create something novel.
The thinking mind turns the wheel, knitting the society tighter. The juggernaut of sociocultural norms, in turn, fabricates the yarn for such a mind.
Avicenna or Ibn Sina (980 AD – 1037) was a physician, philosopher, astronomer, theologian, poet – a polymath – who greatly contributed to the Islamic Golden age. His book Al Qanun fi al Tibb or The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia, was studied as a textbook for medical education in many universities, also in Europe, up till the 17th Century.
Philosophical encyclopedias like Kitab al Shifa or The Book Healing and Kitab al-Isharat wa alTanbihat or The Book of Directive and Remarks presented Avicenna’s take on the Aristotelian and Platonian philosophy through the lens of an Islamic theologian.
A well-known physician, Avicenna got support from most of the rulers of his time – some made him a vizir or an advisor in their court – and the opportunity to access the royal library. Highly influenced by Aristotle, Avicenna also disagreed with the Greek polymath on many points.
One of us must suppose that he was just created at a stroke, fully developed and perfectly formed but with his vision shrouded from perceiving all external objects – created floating in the air or in the space, not buffeted by any perceptible current of the air that supports him, his limbs separated and kept out of contact with one another, so that they do not feel each other. Then let the subject consider whether he would affirm the existence of his self. There is no doubt that he would affirm his own existence, although not affirming the reality of any of his limbs or inner organs, his bowels, or heart or brain or any external thing. Indeed he would affirm the existence of this self of his while not affirming that it had any length, breadth or depth. And if it were possible for him in such a state to imagine a hand or any other organ, he would not imagine it to be a part of himself or a condition of his existence.
While this blogger will definitely take a lot of time to grasp these theories in entirety, she would like to appreciate the art of thinking that moulds the world in such a steady and grandiose manner.
The art of thinking, in which we participate daily and, most importantly, in the times of despair, is running the show as we then stand face to face our true being and raise questions, refute the botched theory and create a new one.
Avicenna wrote the floating/ flying man argument when imprisoned for around four months as a result of a political debacle – an argument that was later termed weak by the other thinkers.
But this is how the thinking mind works, it continues to question, argue and turn the wheel.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull wanted to master the art of flying. Soaring up in the sky, above the white ocean of clouds, he felt truly free.
Though very unlikely of a seagull, Jonathan flew high ever so high, he practised and failed umpteenth times, but he never gave up.
An outcast, he lived alone and happily spent his time in his quest to achieve perfection.
On reaching a higher level of existence, he meets gulls like him who wanted to enhance their flying skills. It was not heaven for everyone there were learners.
Chiang, the guru of them all, teaches Jonathan how to let go of the concept of time and space so as to travel freely in the Universe.
“Begin by knowing that you have already arrived”, said Chiang.
Wondering if someone else, one who dares to question and take risks, needs guidance on Earth, he returns.
“Devil” for some and “angel” for others, Jonathan teaches a few eager ones. Practising, failing, practising again, Jonathan’s students rise above the Flock, the mundane.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull then continues his journey to guide other gulls who must have been waiting for him somewhere else in the Universe.
Richard Bach’s fable is soothingly clear, and thus, appears too simplistic to many. Just like flying looks simple only until we give it a try.
He equates perfection with freedom, emphasising on practising and a thirst for knowledge as the golden path to it; a path where you walk ahead passionately and not cumbersomely.
Every little bud in nature rises high, soaking in sun rays, moving towards it. Rising high, shedding the old self, stepping forward to explore the unknown, dwindling before making a firm stand is what life’s journey is all about.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “a one-in-a-million bird”, if appears to be too perfect and his ideas if sound too far-fetching then you should look at your on-going journey and answer these questions – what are you looking for in life – perfection in some form or maybe a balance?
And what is balance if not a proportion of perfect this and perfect that?
Even better, you should meet Shelley’s Skylark.
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
‘Blithe Spirit’ calls Percy Bysshe Shelley a Skylark that is soaring up in the sky (or Heaven, or near it), singing beautifully and gloriously that to him it is nothing but unprecedented ‘unpremeditated art’.
The Skylark, invisible to his eyes, has such power in its voice that the poet likens it to ‘a cloud of fire’.
Shelley beseeches the Skylark to teach him what it knows; a divine secret it must be for nothing on earth could outshine it. Joy so true, Shelley calls it ‘a star of Heaven’.
Nature’s bounty, the golden glow worms, the rainbows, the playful wind, a young maiden’s love and a poet’s grand verses, Shelley says the Skylark’s song, that flows in a ‘crystal stream’, is above them all.
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a Poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace-tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aëreal hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embower’d
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower’d,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves:
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
The Skylark, above these mortal dilemmas, sings with pure love and delight. And in contrast we, humans, are locked in the past or the future.
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Shelley urges the Skylark to teach him just half of what it knows, this ‘harmonious madness’ so that he could capture it within and share it with the world.
The Skylark if not a gleaming reflection of perfection, then what is it? If its song is not a song of freedom, then why is the melody ‘a flood of rapture so divine’?
It must be that just like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the Skylark returned to Earth, to guide and share its knowledge, to remind the poet that ‘freedom is the very nature of his being’.
Unlike a miracle, both took time to convey what little they knew of the truth. The Seagull stays to make his students practice and the Skylark sings till the chosen one – the poet in this case – hears its joyous voice.
Showing what doors can perseverance open and how patience leads to strength, the Seagull and the Skylark leave it up to the individual to unfold the story further.
Birth and death are timed then and a fully lived life, with all its imperfections, aims for a balance, for perfection that guides it to fly high and well.
Amongst the clouds… yes, this is how the journey began. Mushy clouds, mushy dreamy clouds all around her. Whether she walked or the white dreams floated around her isn’t something the music ever revealed.
The music was busy playing and she was busy colouring. The sky and earth colours participated and turned rich.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, someone took a flight, landed, took a cab, halted for a coffee break, laughed with her friend and continued the road trip.
Warm waves of velvety starry blanket covered the existence and hushed those who listened to the happy silence. She stayed awake for a while just to witness it all. A simple melodious note filled her ears and she swam to sleep.
That someone talked to her friend, they ate pastries and called it a day. That someone, with ‘oh’ look, got up to brush her teeth and then went to bed. Phew!
She opened her eyes, awakened the self and stepped out to see the end of a long search. Birds and buds, earth’s aroma and touch, giant trees’ humble smiles, the sun’s vocals and the wind’s compositions, other human beings, all dancing, and of course, the bicycles… everything she laid her eyes on glanced back at her, welcomed and sang to her.
In Auroville, in a blissful place. [Images by Jagriti Rumi]
Tring, tring… tring, tring, she replied to them. Crossed leg sitting inside an apple she relished it, sweet, sour, juicy and fresh. When she jumped outside, she gave the left-over bit to a dog. Questioning her about nothing, the dog finished the apple.
Tring, tring… she went ahead and met a mathematician’s spirit, who gave her the map that took her to the grand golden lotus with twelve petals. Its beauty struck her hard and she kept standing there for ages in admiration.
Primary and secondary colours, in circles, pyramids and cylindrical shapes all passed by her. She blinked and found herself inside the grand golden lotus.
Earth, Fire, Wind and Water were there, she saw it, just a glimpse, but they were there in absoluteness. She blinked and she was back outside. Oh! The joy!
She danced all her way, lal-lal-lal-laaa, rotated and laughed, climbed the musical rainbow and listened to what the colours were playing and then surprised herself with her quiet self, quiet but not low, because her eyes were beaming and her soul still dancing.
By the hourglass the journey continued for that someone and her friend, click-click-click, pictures taken, tring-tring-tring on the cycle path, resting, eating and laughing.
That someone’s friend like a darling blue bird sang and danced… unable to resist she also joined her friend. Together they collected memories and both filled their hourglass with it.
Smart! Now time reminds them of those memories all the time.
O journey, when did you start and when will you end?
O journey, can I stop and meet my friend?
The beginning is hazy, but true and the end will be a new beginning for you.
Don’t stop if you want to meet your friend, for she is on a journey too.
“What I meant was that if we are talking about the universe and how it works, then shouldn’t we first at least be aware of the micro-universes… the micro-universe of every living being which may throw some light on the macro-universe?”
“Hm-hm, I said the same.”
“How life evolves… its route from birth to death… simple cycles, complex cycles… such details can reveal a map of which we are also a part.”
“My words mean the same.”
“And finally, where are we headed to… is there any sense in this flow of energy that we see everywhere… waves that have risen will soon fall and merge with the rest, will it be the end or a new beginning…? Maybe these questions if answered can change the meaning, the essence of our lives.”
“Hey, what is with you? Same… same? Don’t you know anything else? Being quiet doesn’t make you a good listener, being honest about your response makes you. I don’t know why I began talking to you… who are you anyway?”
The mountains are so grand; I realised it that day when I climbed one. The green velvety zigzag stretch left me overwhelmed.
A thought caught my attention and told me how beautiful and majestic the mountains were, how incredibly small I was, how peacefully colourful the surroundings were and how sublime the music played by the wind was.
I saw the clouds and they saw me; I blushed quietly. With my feet in the wet green grass, I stood there enjoying the drizzle. I sat on a calm rock calmly and opened the notebook. I couldn’t write for some reason, so I drew the scene instead.
Have you ever felt the same? Like when you feel something you cannot describe in words or otherwise? When the smell of an old book takes you back in a different century?
As if the leaf that fell near you was meant to fall there so that you could pick it up and observe it? And that the glamorous city lights were talking to each other and the moon was talking to you?
What about the smiley face drawn by a passer-by on a dusty car that reminds you of the one you had drawn? Have you ever felt the still mind?
The drawing that I made took the shape of the yin-yang without my knowledge. Opposites complement each other. I sat near the window and thought about it; the sun passed by and the moon came with white light very quickly and in the shadow, I saw the light and immediately, I agreed.
I again looked at that drawing, in gratitude but the drawing was no longer the same… there were dark green mountains and blue sky, white clouds and green grass and me, sitting on the calm rock calmly. And I looked through the window…
I can see mountains from the window, I’ll take this window along.
When choosing my flower’s colour /
Blindly I pick all – the sun decides /
Which one suits me more.
A storyteller, following the ancient tradition of cave chroniclers, standing in vrikshasana (the tree pose) on a hill top (it is sunny, but windy), breathing in and out stories (relishing it all, but at times overwhelmed), declares animatedly that she will continue to – tell stories, share rare story gems, and connect with the pacy universe while also keeping the website ad-free.
Big thanks to my readers. Stay tuned!
Also, a humble request to the new subscribers to check the spam folder after subscribing. Silly (but necessary) confirmation emails often land there instead of the bright inboxes. Merci!
Chiming Stories (formerly Home Chimes)
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Gabbeh, the 1996 film, is a simple tale of a gipsy girl, her clan and the way their life goes on. Unfolding beautifully just like an artist painting a canvas, Gabbeh quietly touches the grand questions.
Godard… Breathless and Alive
A Tribute to Jean-Luc Godard, the Film Philologist who Reinvented Cinema.
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.
Yes fly! For walking on the second track is dull and usual, but dreaming high, high, high requires tools. Tools like the right pair of shoes, a chirpy, gritty soul that eats butter-jam dreams, a soul that drinks milky-milky creams.
Universe’s a Disciplined Place
Silver cascade shimmering the night sky, music to the waves and surreal beauty to the eyes, the Moon loves the art of discipline.
It may be difficult to believe for the Moon’s splendour defies time, it stupefies the clock, it follows the path of a dreamer, but how could this be possible if the Moon knew not discipline?