Archive for May, 2009



   Posted by: aman    in Other

Just came back from Ladakh. Last week was my parents’ anniversaries and I could think of nothing better to do than visit Ladakh, to keep alive what my parents expected of me: travel to see the world. Ladakh had been a dream I dreamt when I was a child. I am glad I fulfilled it. I will write about it in greater detail, but here is a snippet of imagination.

At one time, many hundreds of years ago, there was a tectonic shift in the plates that form the Earth. Ladakh was created when it was thrown up from the bottom of a sea. I had not imagined Ladakh to be the desert it is: brown, barren, cold, remote, and even lonely, expansive, stupendous, beautiful.

On the way to Pangong Tso, through Chang La at 17586 feet, and to Nubra Valley through Khardung La at 18380 feet (the highest motorable road in the world), I survived on the pods of garlic my driver Dorje fed me an hour before we reached those heights. The home recipe is amazing, no sickness, just a little airy feeling on the heights. As we drove over tracks cut through the sides of the mountains, through the snow, I wondered if all this was once below water.

If I were a fish. I would then not have had to drive so hard and so far. I would have merely held my breath and started floating, moving my fins in the general direction towards where I would have wanted to reach. When my head went airy on those heights, I just had to look around and I could see school of fishes, crossing the peaks. Multi-coloured, all quiet as we were there. The peaks humble you, silence you. Enchanting!

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Reviewed Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Sanjitha from BusinessWorld has been kind to me ever since she reviewed Sepia Leaves for their web site and this time she gave me an opportunity to write a review. I reviewed Geoff Dyer’s book Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, published by Random House. It appears here …

Nilanjana had told me about a brilliant book by the same author called But Beautiful: A book about Jazz. Must read it soon. I am currently reading Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, a documentary-style book on the life of cornet player Buddy Bolden, a jazz pioneer.

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I am trying to decide, in a nice way

   Posted by: aman    in Other

For the last many years I have been trying to understand the mystery of life. Since I work closely with Debbie, my editor, a few years ago I asked her about her belief. She simply said Buddism. I did not think much of it but off and on I thought of Buddism, the eight-fold path as laid out by Budda in my school text book, and of the Budda (Siddharta the prince) leaving the comfort of his home and family and going out in the middle of night to find truth. He was then inspired by three sights he had witnessed: death, old age, and another, I think new born baby.

I have not believed in any religion but have tried to learn good things from all of them: the sense of discipline from Islam, the believe that God is in everything from Hinduism, dedication and service from Sikhism. At the same time, even earlier and after Mamman’s death, I have sensed that there is a force which guides me to find experiences to fulfil my life. I have hardly asked God for anything, because I think if there is a God around he is seeing it all and will engineer the right conditions for me. If my life has been tough, or I meet a hard situation, I believe that God wants me to learn something from it. S/he is a friend.

After I moved to Delhi, Debbie told me she goes to listen to sermons on Buddism and gets to know about them from mailers. I asked her to add me to the mailing list. In the middle of last month I got an invite for a talk on ‘How can I feel selfconfident if there is no self?’ and another one on ‘What has Karma got to do with it? – Happiness and Suffering explained according to The 12 Links.’

I went for both the talks and they were such a revelation! I will talk about my learning in the next blogs but I came back and googled Buddism to find that the Buddists do not believe in God and Buddism is really a scientific understanding of the phenomena of life. When I googled Sufism, which is what I believe I tend to follow at least in my choice of music, I found God is central to their way of being, their philosophy. So I am trying to decide, in a nice way. No one says I have to decide. No one is asking my opinion. I can chose to be a Buddist in being and Sufi in doing, or the other way around. Does it really matter because I also found that whether Islam, or Hinduism, or Christian, or Sikh, and now Buddist, whether one believes in a God or not, and which God, all these systems of thought are pointing to the same: right thought, action, conduct, and finally peace.

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