Posted in Books

Lost Wisdom of the Swastika

LWOTS

I know Ajay Chaturvedi. He is a friend from college. And I have been following his immensely inspiring professional journey in the field of what many refer to as “Social Entrepreneurship”, for the past 5 years or so. But I had lost touch with him before that. Almost for 15 years. So when I first learned that Ajay has published a book, about which I had no knowledge, till I saw his Facebook status update, I was pleasantly surprised. Not because Ajay has published a book, but because I found out that this book is a fictional story, inspired by true events.

I finished the book in one sitting. And I wanted to. Any book that deals with Metaphysics at the very basic level like “Why”, “What” and “How” is not necessarily a page turner. So from that standpoint, this book surely doesn’t make for a racy read. The book particularly needs some focused time & deep reading, when Zian finally reaches the Vedic Ashram where he meets Maharaj Ji because that’s when things get slow, as Ajay tries to explore the curiosity of a lost soul who just realizes he has finally found his “Master” who could help him steer out of the deep misery he has caught himself in.  Once you get a feel for Ajay’s pace and the chemistry he establishes between Zian and Maharaj Ji, you find yourself inertly drawn into the story. Then, as a reader, you take upon the same journey Zian does, right beside him. You ask the same questions and you mull over Maharaj Ji’s responses pretty much the same way Zian does and even retort in a very similar way through some sillier questions as follow-ups.

Now, I do not want to reveal too much about the story as Ajay masterfully adds a twist, which once it hits you, makes you go back to a few pages that you had read earlier to cross check your own analysis of the twist. Isn’t that a mark of a good storyteller?

Ajay is a first time author, but he doesn’t come across as one. If the clarity with which the author goes about building the protagonist, Zian’s internal struggles as he tries to find himself is not proof enough to Ajay’s story telling capabilities, the way with which he uses Maharaj Ji’s character (inspired by a real life Maharaj Ji whom the Author acknowledges in the credits) to answer all Zian’s questions, should drive home that point on how good a storyteller Ajay is.

The most fascinating thing about this book is how everything physical that we know gets juxtaposed with the equivalent metaphysical aspects (which are hard to define). This not only needs a Maharaj Ji like character, who has attained the state of Turiya, to explain them to Zian, but also a deep understanding of everything that encompasses these aspects by the author himself.

Be it while explaining the ionic concentration of River Ganges or while rationalizing the need for religions, while subtly chiding superstitions or rituals without reasons, the book engages the reader thoroughly and encourages the reader to ask questions – ask questions even if they are mundane.

Be it through liberal Star Wars references, which includes tracking down the alleged origin of “May the Force Be With You” (‘Aapko turiya avastha praapt ho’) or by building this fictional philosophy of a story in a modern setting that many could relate to (9/11, Steve Jobs, MacBook, Social Media, Selfies, etc.), Ajay has managed to get across something very complex (the very essence of the book) in a not so complex manner.

Himalayas – A  mountaineer’s paradise, A nature lover’s dream, A pilgrim’s path, A spiritual soul’s hiding place, A nomad’s challenge, A restless inquisitor’s mystical maze, so on and so forth. These mountains are everything that you love this planet for.  The author’s love for Himalayas is evident from the beginning till the end of this book. So much so, that through his ability to vividly capture the images of Himalayas throughout the book, he leaves the reader longing for a trek up the majestic mountains. And the reader in me, though has been to Himalayas a couple of times knows that he may have just touched the tip of the iceberg – pun completely intended, for he knows that there are many more snow caps to be enthralled by and many more chilly bursts to endure.

Finally, Swastika.

As someone who grew up in a Hindu family, I have seen this symbol all around me, as long as I was in India. But it is also to be noted that in my observation, this symbol is perhaps more evident & widely used in the North compared to the South (India). This may be a different topic altogether for research, however, when I closed the book, I realized one thing.

Looking at Swastika as a mere symbolic representation of a racist Dictator’s ideologies (as commonly represented in the western world since the mid 20th century) may be too naive, for there is a very meandering and a meaningful journey behind this symbol, Swastika, if one chooses to embark on one.

As Ajay claims, a journey, that could bring one closer to oneself.

Posted in Humor - General, Poem, Politics - General

14th Amendment

First they came for the First Amendment, and I did not speak out- 
Because I was not a Liberal.
Then they came for the Second Amendment, and  I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Gun Nut.
Then they came for the Fourth Amendment, and I did not speak out- 
Because I was neither Glenn Greenwald nor friends with Edward Snowden.
Then they came for the Fourteenth Amendment – And there was no one left to speak for me.
Posted in In Search of God

In Search of God – Part IV

A couple of years ago, a good friend and I were having the time of our lives laughing through our guts, as we were from Nuremberg to Berlin, Germany. There is always one topic that gets us going when we are together – That is Religion & God.  Ok. Two topics, if you want to get all technical and say that these two are actually unrelated.  But whenever we have an opportunity presents itself, we don’t miss that opportunity to talk about this. In other words, we don’t miss the opportunity tis hare our amusements and disgusts.

It was that evening when I had a major creative spark (and one of the two major sparks I have had on this topic). I had thought of an excellent plot line for a movie. An outright, rib tickling, comedy caper of sorts. But I will never be able to make that movie as we live in a highly sensitive world. And one of these days, I hope to share the plot line here on my blog without giving away too much and at the same time, without losing the comic impact it has on me.

The first major creative spark on this topic occurred again, when I was with the same friend. In short, we decided that we should  incorporate a Church. Given this is America, and how easy it is to start a Church and do many things right under the nose of IRS, we, in a very typical & a joking way had concluded that this should be a startup idea, that we should pursue one day.
Thank you John Oliver for running our party.

I know where my third spark is going to lead me to (and no this didn’t occur when I was with that friend). And I believe that this may have the highest probability of getting executed. I wanted this to happen in 2015 and now I have pushed it to 2016. We will see.

Meantime, my search continues..
MANDADEBACCAMEMESABOSA!!

Posted in Politics - General

Oh, The Irony !!

Oh, The Irony!!

———–

In India:

Public Urination ??

Sure. Yeah, absolutely ok…socially totally acceptable.

Consensual sex between adults in a hotel with rooms booked under legal names ??

WHAT? HOW DARE YOU? THIS IS PUBLIC OBSCENITY. MUMBAI POLICE WILL ARREST YOU…

———————–

Meanwhile In the US:

You want to insult an entire race?

Sure. Be our guest. You are speaking out what’s in our minds..We just don’t have the guts to speak out loud.. We will give you a huge bump in ratings among the likely primary voters…Nice going!! Pats on the back, etc.

Did you just insult a white woman anchor from Fox News ??

OH NO. HOW DARE YOU? THIS IS CROSSING THE LINE. YOU ARE NOT BEING DECENT. WE ARE GOING TO DISINVITE YOU FROM SPEAKING AT OUR CONSERVATIVE FORUM. WE DON’T WANT YOU AT THE FORUM WHERE OUR CORE AGENDA REVOLVES AROUND MISOGYNY.