General ravings, Potshots, Verse perverse

CAA, Nuclear Physics and Opium for the Masses

I write this at the urging of a dear friend, who believes (bless him!) that I might have something worthwhile to contribute on this whole CAA-NRC issue that’s  destroying so many lives and so much public property and so many millions of youngsters’ academic careers and the nation’s collective equanimity (except, maybe, Amit Shah’s and Pinarayi Vijayan’s equanimity).

But I can’t get started on CAA-NRC and affiliated crap; not right now, at least. I am still too filled with angst at the way our political leaders – BJP, Congress, CPI(M), the whole rabid lot of them and their respective captive media-houses – have yet again exploited the well-known, repeatedly validated tendency of We the Moronic Indian People to allow ourselves to be suckered by netas and kooky religious leaders into taking violently extreme and opposed positions on things we understand little or nothing about.

Right now I only do three things (ignoring your theatrical groans):

1 – I declare my belief that Amit Shah, Union Home Minister and BJP leader, has crafted and timed the passage of CAA in Parliament, supplemented with carefully planned loose talk about NRC and NPR, as a cold-blooded, brilliantly laid trap to ensure that India remains divided along communal Hindu vs. Muslim lines till the next Lok Sabha elections. I believe Amit Shah has done this because the Ayodhya issue, which has been used by all political parties to divide the people for 30 years but benefited BJP the most, has finally and honourably been resolved by the Supreme Court…and therefore the BJP is desperate to find another issue to keep the people polarized on communal lines.  And predictably, tragically, the fools of the Congress, CPI(M) and other Opposition parties have fallen into this BJP trap by taking communal positions on the CAA issue and fighting street battles over CAA instead of fighting CAA on logical grounds, on Constitutional grounds; they are right in opposing the CAA, but they are opposing  it for horrendously wrong reasons and in violent ways…and this is precisely what BJP wants  [More on this later, I promise…if I can conquer my nausea]

2 – I translate the infernal, eternal, and vehemently disavowed words of the great Narakasura the Terrible, ruler of ancient Pragjyotishpura [c. 1191–1124 BCE]

Beware cruel Leaders who light Fires of Radicalism, Fanaticism

In the minds of the ignorant, gullible and young,

To divide them, break them, as white light in a prism

Till they forget the One Source from which we’ve all sprung…

 Thus riven, passions aflame, driven by Sermons of Venom and Hate

The masses butcher one another in the names of Secular Gods and Prophets

Whilst in theirs quiet clubs and boardrooms, on their electronic slates

The Netas and the Priests chuckle, and chalk up their Profits…

 

3 – To complete your agony, I paste below a highly irrelevant article on Secularism and Nuclear Physics written in 2007 by another dear old friend, Ghatotkacha the Late (alas, he disappeared without trace soon after posting this article: unconfirmed reports suggest he was dispatched by a joint assassin squad comprising members of Bajrang Dal,  SIMI and certain unnameable and unmentionable Leftist groups).

Indian Scientists Discover ‘Secularon’

It is a moment that all Indians should be proud of. On Friday 1st June 2007, at precisely 2344 hrs IST, a team of scientists headed by Dr Falturam G Bakthahai of the prestigious IIFS (Indian Institute of Fundamentalist Sciences) announced the discovery of a new fundamentalist particle found only in Indian adult brains: the ‘secularon’.  Social and political scientists believe that this strange and elusive particle holds the key to understanding the various forces that influence political behaviour among Indians.

“Naturally, we are thrilled!” announced a visibly tired Dr Falturam at a hastily convened press conference at the sprawling IIFS campus in New Delhi. “Our team has worked very hard these past four years. We have had to face and overcome immense technological challenges and resource constraints…but now, finally our efforts have been rewarded!”

News of the IIFS breakthrough has generated great excitement not only in India but across the global scientific community. Many feel the secularon’s discovery is as momentous as that of the neutron in 1932 by Sir James Chadwick.

“The IIFS finding is stupendous!” says Prof. Mel O’Drama, well-known philosopher, science writer and Head of Caltech’s Department of High Energy Physics. “The discovery of the secularon confirms Richard Feynman’s famous tenet: that ‘the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know anything for sure’!”

His views are echoed by scientists across the world. “The secularon’s discovery reveals how little we know about our Universe, and indeed about humankind itself,” observes Nobel laureate Dr Gott Tubi-Jokin, Head of the Psychophysics-Cyberobiology group at the University of Grumingen-Schlauss. “Just as the discovery of the neutron changed our understanding of atomic science, the secularon’s discovery dramatically alters our long-held theories of Indian political science.”

Dr Falturam agreed to answer a few basic questions regarding the nature and significance of the secularon.

 What is the secularon?

The secularon is a tiny, negatively charged fundamentalist particle that is found only in living Indian brain cells. It contains at least 237 extremely complex organic compounds – most appear to be enzymes. These compounds are looped together in a kind of triple-helix form, vaguely reminiscent of DNA’s double-helix shape and also somewhat resembling the trishul shape venerated by Hindus.

Why is the secularon’s discovery so important?

The secularon exists only in Indian adult brains; it is unique to our nation’s population! Our studies reveal that an average adult Indian brain contains an estimated 2.34 billion secularons, and that the nature and level of secularon activity in a brain directly influences the political outlook of the owner of the brain. In simple terms, we can tell whether an Indian is secular or communal simply by studying the secularons in his or her brain!

Can you please elaborate?

Well…to start with it is important to understand that the secularon can exist in two possible energy states: ‘passive’ or ‘active’. We have found that the secularon can switch between these two states several million times a day! At any given instant, if the majority of secularons in a person’s brain are passive, that person exhibits secular behaviour. However, when the majority of secularons are active, the person becomes communal.

How does the secularon switch between active and passive states?

Indeed, this question foxed our team for three years. Now we know that the secularon’s energy state is determined by a factor that is external to the brain itself! To be precise, whether a secularon is active or passive depends entirely on the political climate in which the observation is made.

Do you mean a person is sometimes secular and sometimes communal, depending on both the observer and the external political environment?

Precisely! IIFS has evolved a set of equations – tentatively named ‘Arjun-Advani Transformations’ – to describe this extraordinary behaviour. These equations resemble the Lorentzian transformations of relativity theory. At the macro-level, we have found that the secularity of a person varies in direct proportion to the closeness of that person to the Congress and/or Communist parties. Examples abound, not only of individuals but entire political parties!  For instance, the DMK party members had active secularons in their brains (and were therefore communal) when they opposed Congress in the late 1980s. However, their secularons switched to passive (and they became secular) as soon as they backed the Congress-led UPA government. The Telugu Desam members were purely secular when they backed the United Front, but deeply communal when they backed the BJP-led NDA. Sharad Pawar was a secular Congressman who became communal when he opposed Sonia Gandhi and formed the NCP; but now he has regained secularity by supporting the UPA. Another fine example is Sanjay Nirupam, ex-Shiv Sena MP and rabid communalist who is now the epitome of secularity because he has joined the Congress.

 Truly amazing!   Will the discovery have any impact on future politics in India?

Well, I cannot comment on that. However, our discovery does reveal that Indian secularism is as transient and ephemeral as our development plans are.

What is your team’s next quest?

We are trying to isolate another even more elusive fundamentalist particle – we call it the ‘minoritron’. As its name suggests, the minoritron imparts the feeling of ‘minority-ness’ to a brain. The minoritron is far more stable than the secularon; once a brain feels a sense of minority-ness, it becomes permanent. Unfortunately, the minoritron carries no charge and occupies virtual space; this makes it as difficult to detect as the neutrino. However, we are confident we shall succeed, thanks to a grant of 2200 crore rupees from our beloved HRD Minister Arjun Singh. We shall be collaborating in our work with a team of scientists from ILS (Institute of Lactile Sociodynamics), Kanpur. You may recall that ILS did path-breaking research with milk cookers in the 1980s that finally led to the discovery of the regresson – the Backward-spinning cerebral particle – and formulation of the famous Creamy Layer Postulate that forms the bedrock of today’s affirmative action policy. It is our hope that we may one day unify the secularon and minoritron into a Grand Unified Theory of Backward Integration, thereby showing India the way to retrogressive progress.

 

Jai Hind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General ravings, Potshots, Verse perverse

Crowd-source money for Rahul Gandhi’s foreign trips! Restore his SPG cover!

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URGENT APPEAL TO ALL INDIANS

All Indians must save Rahul Gandhi from Poverty’s claws

All of us should contribute generously to this worthy cause…

Since 2015, our Rahul-ji, beloved Blather of the Nation

Has gone abroad 247 times, as per latest information…

And we fear creditors will soon be howling at his doors!

 

So tirelessly, these four years, has Rahul-ji explored foreign lands for us

That his air-tickets alone must’ve surely drained his entire corpus…

He earns only two lakh rupees as MP’s monthly fees

Hardly enough for flying 247 times overseas…

And we’re quite sure he didn’t go to Hanoi and New York by bus!

Rahul the globetrotter

 

We’re alarmed, too, by this mean BJP government’s direction

To deprive our beloved Rahul-ji of SPG’s protection…

On the flimsy ground that he gave SPG the slip

On the above-mentioned 247 foreign trips

As well as 1892 domestic ones…we just don’t see the connection!

 

Hence, let’s crowd-source money to sustain dear Rahul-ji’s travels!

Let’s throng  international airports, to bid him fond farewells!

Let’s also urge  Home Minister Amit Shah-ji to exercise his power

And not just restore, but triple, Rahulji’s SPG cover…

We might then get to know where Rahul’s gone, to serve us through his revels!

Musings, Potshots, Remembering

Kick them in their Secular Organs

With Congress and NCP bowing and scraping before Shiv Sena for spoils of power; with even the Leftists refusing to condemn this display of political debauchery, the murderers of 1992/93— whether Hindu or Muslim— can now breathe easy…forever

I laughed, swore, ground my teeth, and swore some more, reading today’s Indian Express front-page piece with its hagiography of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader and Chief Minister-designate of Maharashtra.

“Behind mild exterior, a tough negotiator, tech-savvy manager,” gushes the article.

IE
The Secularization of Shiv Sena [full story here]
Not a word about the Shiv Sena’s vicious, parochial vision;  not a journalistic peep about the Shiv Sena’s violent past and present.

O tempora O mores !

Briefly, I try and recollect the ten years I lived in Mumbai, from 1984 onwards; those were busy years, wonderful years, joyous years in this greatest of cities. But now, all I can recall are the unspeakable horrors that I experienced and witnessed in 1992 and 1993, when the people of Mumbai turned upon one another in the name of ‘religion’. Horrors that were largely instigated and inflicted by the glorified goondas of Shiv Sena, BJP et al.

Hazily, I recall that the murderers of Shiv Sena, BJP and affiliated Sangh Parivar groups were clearly exposed in 1998 by the Report of Justice B N Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry. I know no action was ever taken on the Report; now I wonder, does anyone even remember it?

I abandon my cerebral search and embark instead on a quick Google search.  It appears that Great God Google remembers the Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry. Google remembers and recalls the Commission’s Report… though those of us Indians old enough to remember have forgotten, or chosen to forget, it ever existed.

Remembering SS
We may forget, but Google remembers…[click here for story]
Do forgive me, O most tolerant Reader: but after having troubled your mind with these musings, now I  turn away from the screen and put a lid on my terrible memories. I can’t delete the memories: they will endure as long as I live; but I am too weary to dredge them out and revisit the horrors; too weary to rage anymore against the dying of the light.

There’s just no point.

Because now, with Sonia Gandhi’s Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP bowing and scraping before Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena for spoils of power; with even the Leftists refusing to condemn this most unholy display of political debauchery, the murderers of 1992/93—whether Hindu or Muslim—can now smirk and breathe easily…forever.

As can all those who have rioted and maimed and slain their fellow Indians since then,  in the name of religion, caste, race, language.

Behold,  the Shiv Sena has been Secularized!

The media is overjoyed. It is a Victory for Secularism against the BJP!

Only the lambs are silent, fearful…for the wolves have now entered the pasture in great numbers, and the wolves are wearing sheep’s garb.

I fling the newspaper aside, open my scrapbook and reflect on the enduring relevance of Martin Niemoller’s words from 1946:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me

And there was no one left to speak for me…

 

 

General ravings

Emissions of Guilt

India is spearheading international efforts to combat the threats of Climate Change. With the 25th Conference of Parties due to take place in Madrid in early December 2019, and with the Winter Session of Parliament already on, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has prepared a small glossary of select terms related to Climate Change for the enlightenment of our MPs.  Here are a few extracts from the booklet, provided to us by an anonymous and possibly non-existent source in the L.S. Secretariat:

Emissions: Emission (archaic: admission) is the same as confession. If you confess or emit to a crime, it is called ‘emission of guilt’.  It is easy to understand why emissions are bad for your health. Luckily for you, as per Indian law an emission of guilt holds no weight in Court unless the emission is made in presence of a magistrate. Hence, if you are questioned by police, CBI or Enforcement Directorate regarding scams or other crimes,  emit nothing.

Fossil Fuels: Describes the very old and seasoned bureaucrats in ministries such as coal, environment, forests, mining, petroleum & natural gas, etc., who have perfected the science  of working very hard during their tenures to achieve zero outputs while at the same time ensuring zero emissions regarding any acts of omission and/or commission. (Related term: Zero-Effect Zero-Defect)

Conference of Parties (COP):  This is a mechanism under which tax-payers across the world pay the United Nations to organize annual Parties for assorted Fossil Fuels, media-folk and other hangers-on from 193 countries in lovely holiday resorts such as Bratislava and Buenos Aires, Cancun and Cartagena, Nagoya and Nassau. Here, the Party-goers can  argue about why emissions are bad for all of us, which country is emitting more than which, and what should be done about it and by whom. Already, 24 COPs have been held. Each COP usually ends with an Agreement under which all the Party-goers agree on two vital issues: (1) where to hold the next COP; and (2) a resolution never to promise to actually do something about emissions, as this might bring to an end all future COPs (this is also known as Principle of Shared Iniquity).

Coping Strategy/Adaptation: This is the approach adopted by a politician to cope with (or adapt to) a changed, politically adverse climate. If successful, the politician is said to demonstrate ‘Climate Resilience’.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Set up by UN, the IPCC has been working very hard for over 30 years to try and get over 190 countries to agree on important issues such as whether Climate Change is actually real, and if so, how to measure it and what the measurements tell us or don’t tell us about our past, present and future. So far, IPCC has produced many reports describing its brave efforts to get countries to agree on anything at all related to Climate Change (assuming it is real).

Low/zero carbon economy:  Also called Zero-C, this is a cherished goal of India’s e-governance initiative, to minimize or eliminate the use of carbon paper while making hard copies of government  documents. Zero-C will save paper and precious trees, and also protect politicians, government officials and affiliated Fossil Fuels against media stings and CBI inquiries based on leaked carbon copies of official documents. Note: Zero-C is not to be confused with Zero-X (archaic: Xerox), which is a different but equally harmful leaking mechanism.

Mitigation: This is a legal strategy by which  politicians and other Fossil Fuels can cite mitigating circumstances to dilute charges brought against him/her under CrPC, IPC or even IPCC.

Renewables. These are inexhaustible energy resources for political parties. For example, in India both BJP and Congress promote solar energy, through Sun Salutations and Son Salutations respectively. Also, BJP specializes in forcing citizens to convert to biogas energy through cow protection or Gau Rakshak; while Congress and CPI(M) compete in promoting large-scale wind energy generation through Mani Shankar Aiyar and JNU Student’s Union respectively.

Clean Technology Transfer: A very rarely used term nowadays, it describes ‘clean’ defense deals where no bribes have been paid to politicians or arms dealers while purchasing military equipment/technology from abroad.

Appropriate technology: This describes  modern, anti-pollution technology that is appropriate for Indian needs – such as the N95 anti-pollution masks being bought and distributed by Aam Aadmi Party at Delhi tax-payers’ expense to protect Delhi citizens against air pollution caused largely by the Delhi citizens’ own industries, vehicles and construction activities.  However, if the appropriate technology is obtained by swindling of public money, it is termed ‘Misappropriate Technology’.

Jai Hind.

 

 

Musings, Remembering, Verse perverse

Barog: rediscovering the joy of simply being

After three days of choking-level air pollution, it’s a glorious morning here in Delhi!

Today’s the 6th of November. I began the day with 90 minutes of pre-dawn yoga, followed by a brisk two-kilometre walk. Now, energized by a hearty breakfast and healing kaapi,  I check the Air Quality Index on the Weather Bureau site. It announces that the PM 2.5 particulate emissions are a mere 210 micrograms/cubic metre at 9 a.m.

That’s wonderful… 210 mcg/m3   is not even four times the maximum safety level of 60 mcg/m3 … why, it’s almost as good as being in Bhutan!

I wipe my smarting eyes and breathe deeply of the pleasantly chill light-brown air, revelling in the tingling sensation that courses through the entire body and mind as the lungs fill with a perfectly-blended mix of SO2, NO2 and CO, flavoured with delicate hints of ozone and hydrogen cyanide and just a touch of that rare element, oxygen…

Forgive me the laboured sarcasm, O most valued Reader; but I’ve finally understood that it’s futile taking the issue of air pollution, or indeed any issue at all, very seriously  in our beloved India that is Bharat. Three years ago, in 2016, I actually took the issue of air pollution seriously enough to write about it [please click here to read it]. But now I realize that nothing’s changed since then, except for the worse.

So:

Instead of wasting my breath in gasping rants

At Kejriwal and Goel, and their many sycophants

I abandon the idiocy of all netas and affiliated fools

For the serenity of hills and rills, still quiet pools…

Let Delhi and its denizens make Haze while the Sun shines!

I’ll find refuge in flowery meadows, sighing pines…

In this illuminated and detoxified spirit, I recollect and relive four wonderful days I spent in the quiet little town of Barog, near Shimla, in late September 2017. I stayed with my dear friends Micky and Abha: their warmth, their generosity and hospitality helped me shed decades of accumulated stresses and blues, and rediscover the joy and wisdom of simply BEING.

I’ve written earlier about walking up to the old army cantonment of Dagshai during this visit. [You can read it here]. Here are some more photos from that time.  A mere four days’ R&R; yet for me they evoke memories to draw on for a lifetime…

On the way up: Himalayan Queen

a1

 

In and around home

a2
Timeless mornings and evenings, lazing out on the terrace with Abha and Micky.   Tiger was usually present to test and certify quality of biscuits, pakoras, cake etc.

a5

Dagshai Cantonment – seen from terrace

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Every evening we’d walk to Micky’s ‘Sunset Point’ and watch the clouds roll in
just walking
Just walking around…

just walking 2

Tiger doing his Think Tank act
Tiger contemplates the State of the Universe

A dreamy day in Kasauli

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At the beautiful old Christ Church (estt. 1853)
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Army Holiday Home
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Kasauli Club
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The wildflowers run riot here!

Barog railway station

Walking down

There’s no road to/from Barog railway station. There’s only a steep, 400-metre path leading down through the forest from the Old Shimla Road.  So Micky dropped me off at a signpost showing where the path begins, and I followed the path down…and down….

1  234678

9

 

At Barog station

I never imagined I’d enjoy waiting for a train so much.  I spent just over an hour at the station, during which I met only four souls: the cheerful Asst Station Master, an ancient and sleepy gangman; the young man who presided over the station’s canteen and fixed me two cups of black tea;  and a phlegmatic dog who decided I needed constant supervision.  Nothing seems to have changed here since the 1.15 km-long Barog Tunnel was completed in the early 1900s…

10
Barog tunnel – named after Colonel Barog, British Army engineer, who was entrusted with boring this 1.15 km tunnel through the mountain.  To save time, Barog deployed two teams which proceeded to bore the tunnel from both sides simultaneously. Alas, Barog’s calculations were wrong; the two segments of the tunnel were misaligned, and when it became clear that never the twain would meet, poor Barog was fined the princely sum of Re 1 for wasting the British government’s time and resources. Unable to bear the humiliation, he shot himself, and the tunnel was realigned and completed by another engineer:  H S Harrington. Legend has it that the tunnel is still haunted by the unhappy spirit of the Colonel…
11
Station guest  house – I was told the rooms are nice, the food excellent, and the best way to visit Shimla is to stay here and take trains up and down (2 hours and a bit each way)
15b
My mentor: the slightly accusing look is because he believed (despite my strong denials) that I’d eaten the larger share of biscuits

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14a
And so…time to go
Musings, Verse perverse

A Short Prayer on Deepavali Eve

a-short-prayer-on-deepavali-eve.jpg

Even now

As residents of the neighbouring apartments, in pre-Deepavali revels

Rend the peace; render the night hideous with 240 decibels…

I contemplate the serene wisdom of the ancient sage

Who counselled against rage, advised restraint with the adage

Of Yudhisthira, that troubled  but patient ass of bygone age…

 

Even now

As the last ghastly Bollywood song fades, like a bad dream

Anon a Voice begins reciting Tambola numbers in soprano scream

Interspersed with inane jokes, in baritone bray

As hardened bandicoots flee in terror, their fur in disarray

 

Even now

In this dark noisy hour, when Despair threatens to cloak all humankind

Lo! The clouds disperse; Inspiration illumines my fevered mind!

Now we too can play Tambola; there’s no need for tiles

All we need are tickets; that Voice carries for miles!

 

Even now

I beseech thee,  O Mighty Devi—thou who felled Mahishasura, that Incarnation of Ignorance!

Do shine Reason’s Light on these cacophonous fools; gift them Silence, common sense!

That our ears, and Earth, be spared their racket; that we may awaken from this deafening dreadful night

To the glorious Dawn of Deepavali – the Celebration of thy Light

A short prayer pre-Deepavali - 2

 

Musings, Remembering

Chords of memory

It’s amazing, how quickly one’s equanimity vanishes beneath the stresses and strains of living in our beloved Rajdhani.

In the present instance, by ‘equanimity’ I mean the peace of mind that I found at the India Music Summit in Jaipur (4 – 6 October). Time flew while I was there.  Now , barely a fortnight later, all that peace of mind too has flown out the window; my Delhi window that is,  beyond which the afternoon sun is hidden by a haze made up of equal proportions of PM10 particles, toxic fumes from factories and vehicles, and toxic abuse from a million marauding muttering motorists.

Where has all the music gone?

You know how it is sometimes with a wonderful childhood experience?  You remember you had a good time; but that’s all you can recall. It’s as though all the little details— the when and where and how, the who did what with whom and to whom and why, the people and places and happenings and all the other elements— have vanished from memory; they’ve been chopped up fine and atomized in Time’s great grinder and swirled in the waters of forgetfulness, and then slow-cooked with the spices of experiences and the tadka of love and joy and sorrow (stirring frequently all the while), till everything has become like one cerebral kootu.

And so, when you try and remember your childhood experience, you can only discern the kootu; a tasty but uniform, featureless stew.

Yet it takes just a random spark— perhaps a certain aroma, perhaps the way the morning sunlight gleams on a leaf, a certain voice or giggle or chord, or a stranger’s face that reminds you of someone you knew …and at once the years and decades fall away like dream’s architecture dissolves with awakening, and for a brief thrilling moment the wonderful childhood experience of ten years or fifty years ago returns in all its intensity and washes over you and renews you;  and just as you become aware of returning memory it vanishes …leaving you smiling, longing for more.

Sometimes, of course, you can seek out the spark yourself. And with music it’s really easy, music as a spark always works for me.

That’s what I did just now;  I turned to YouTube and sought Aruna Sairam. I found a wonderful performance by her with sarod player Soumik Datta, including  songs she’d sung at Jaipur! Here are two—the 500 MWe Durga stotram Aigiri Nandini, and the Kalinga Nartana joyously and passionately recreating young Krishna’s sport with the great serpent Kalinga.

And in less time than it takes the law-abiding but stressed-out Delhi motorist to yell “Abbe saale, wrong side pe kyon chalaa rahe ho!”, all my stresses and strains have evaporated. 🙂

I can’t wait to attend the 2020 Summit.   To temper my impatience, I just listened to, and share here, the ethereal voices of the Shillong Chamber Choir singing Vande Mataram:  as they did in Jaipur; singing here on another occasion, when Chandrayaan II silently circled the Moon and the Lander Vikram was lost; evoking what their songs always evoke in my mind, the embracing and celebration of Life with all its ups and downs, the joy and awe and grandeur of Eternity.