Friday, May 20, 2011


Sights, smells and sounds
The taste of ripe mangoes
The touch of a baby's hands
The music of the waves on the beach
The wind in your hair...sand on your feet
The look in your eyes completes the scene
The scent of the earth impacted by rain
The sound of the water flowing in the stream
The distant chime of the temple bell
The expressions on her face
The movement of her body and soul
The story laid out by her grace
Sensations galore!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Although mankind has thrived on planet Earth for many centuries, the fact is that we now face a myriad of problems that threaten our future existence. We face an energy crisis, global warming, population explosion, economic recession, water and food shortages and the list goes on and on. Our seemingly defiant approach to evolutionary processes that other living organisms subscribe to has led us to adopt technology as a vehicle of adaptation. While the rest of the living world either die out or gradually adapt to the changing living conditions, human beings use technology to counter the effects of these environmental changes. We use air-conditioners to stay comfortable, processed water and food, refrigeration, automobiles, air purifiers and so on. We've resisted adaptation for so long and we've built ourselves an existence that has turned out to be the proverbial square-peg in a round-hole...unsustainable
, non-scalable and almost beyond repair.

I say 'almost' because we are walking a fine-line between taking corrective measures and surviving as a race, or plunging into oblivion. We simply cannot continue on this course and scientists have been warning us about this for some time now. Who isn't aware of vice president,presidential candidate and the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore's campaign to spread awareness on the causes and effects of global warming? Who hasn't heard of or read Thomas Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded"? Reality is facing humanity in the face and waving a red flag...the Earth is waving a white flag begging for peace and yet we choose to turn away.

Ideally, what resources we have left should immediately be put to use to create the future world. Once we run out of natural resources like coal, oil and natural gas, we will be left stranded because we NEED these resources to build and transport our electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, solar panels, reverse osmosis cells and sustainable housing. Once they run out, all development will come to a grinding halt and society will become a living hell. Unless we secure our future RIGHT HERE...RIGHT NOW...we will have no future at all. We need to STOP what we are doing and work with what little natural resources we have left to ensure that we have the methods to house, feed and sustain people in the centuries to come. That is OUR responsibility as the current inhabitants of planet Earth.

Mankind's key priorities have been and always will be Food, Water, Shelter and Security. Somehow we've become disconnected from this basic reality and become drawn into a world with game-consoles, automobiles, big-screen TVs, real-estate and other distractions. All these distractions are the "Devil" if you appropriate a term from religion. They keep us happy...temporarily...and eventually kill us off. It is important not to despair and become despondent because that is the appropriate avenue to take when all else has failed and you are seconds away from destruction. At the moment there is still a LOT we can do to sort ourselves out.

Where do we begin...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of a kind...

The dreams come and go...
Thoughts ebb and flow...
Finding peace in this existence...
Breaking down walls and resistance...
Open mind
For the love you will find
Keep smiling...stay divine
For you of a kind!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Turbulence for Dummies...

In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a fluid regime characterized by chaotic, stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time.
Courtesy: Wikipedia

There is turbulence in everything around us and it is nature's way of showing us just how imperfect she can be. Turbulence affects Grand Prix cars and the sport of F1 racing has turned into a procession of cars from start to finish because the cars cannot run in close proximity to each other because of turbulence. Turbulence causes massive structural strain on long-span bridges. The aviation industry is badly affected by air turbulence and although many of you fly on a regular basis, I doubt any of you have researched turbulence as much as I have. I hope you find this useful.

Without getting into Geo-Physics and Meteorology let us just assume that there are a variety of "Causes" for Turbulence ranging from non-uniform heating of the atmosphere, Storm Clouds and high-speed, high-altitude winds like the Jet-Streams (only at the periphery). There are also several types of turbulence differing by the nature of the forces that act upon the air-frame. These range from mild choppiness to Extreme turbulence. Most of the time the Pilots are in a position to detect the causes of turbulence using the on-board Weather-Radar, communications from nearby aircraft and ground control and by visually scanning the skies around for tell-tale signs such as Cloud formations. What they are trying to avoid are the sudden updrafts and downdrafts that can put tremendous stress on the air-frame and cause mild to severe discomfort to passengers. In some rare cases turbulence has resulted in severe injury and even death to passengers and cabin crew.

Most of these incidents have been caused by a phenomenon known as "Clear Air Turbulence" which is impossible to detect and can be quite severe. Remember to always fasten your seatbelts while you are in your seat and minimize the time you spend loitering around the aircraft. Keep the blood flowing but it is probably a good idea to avoid chatting up the friendly stewardess in the kitchen area.

I am a terrible flier in turbulent conditions. I have a condition that affects me everytime there is a sudden change in altitude, speed and direction. I immediately feel dizzy, disoriented and ticklish all at the same time. It can be quite disconcerting and I feel ashamed that something like this can affect me while most of the people around me carry on as if nothing happened at all.

I have discovered that if I take control of the situation in my mind, the effects are minimized to the point of being manageable. I imagine that I am flying the plane myself and I place my feet flat on the floor of the aircraft, strap myself in tight and get my back away from the seat-back. Imagine riding a motorcycle and adopt the same position in your seat! This has made my life SO much easier in the air and turbulence doesn't bother me anymore. I often look forward to it because it makes life interesting...especially when you are stuck with a boring companion on a long flight and your iPod runs out of juice.

Flying is possibly the safest way of getting around and turbulence is usually safe for you and the aircraft as long as you are strapped in. Pilots will sometimes use the jet-stream to gain speed while saving fuel at the same time - this can significantly shorten the time it takes you to reach your destination. Jet-Streams are typically smooth in the middle and the turbulence is restricted to the edges.

If you are afraid of flying because of the turbulence and if you are the kind of person who takes the train during the monsoons - try my method and see if it helps. I'd like to hear from you and get some comfort in the knowledge that I am not the only one affected in this way.

Cheers and Happy Flying!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It is the monsoons again!

The rains are back and in style!!

Those ruddy meteorologists always seem to get it wrong don't they? Pre-Monsoon showers my ass...the deluge that followed had to be seen to be believed. Raindrops the size of peanuts pelted my helmet and man and motorcycle were soon reduced to a miserable lump of wetness and coldness. As they say in Tanglish (a potent blend of Tamil and the non-Tamil) - "Aandavan Vechchaan Paaru Aapu!" (roughly translates to 'being screwed with' by the Almighty).

There is no escape and you can either chose to mope about for the 3 months that it takes for the rain gods to decide that enough is enough...or you can learn to enjoy it and make the most of what I believe is the best season of them all!!

The normally grungy urban settings of Mumbai receive a thorough cleaning and the vegetation stands proud and green in freshly washed glory. The layers of dust and grime on the roads are scrubbed away leaving behind virgin tarmac/concrete. Buildings that you mistook to be painted brown suddenly showcase their owner's poor taste as the pink and yellow combo paint jobs shine through once again.

Things get even better if you, like me, leave the city for the hills, valleys, plateaus and plains that abound in Maharashtra. The world looks like a freshly painted canvas...cleaned with shampoo and waxed for that special effect. I love it...I ride out whenever I can to savor the natural beauty of this place I live in.

Food tastes better in the rains because you are REALLY hungry from the wet and cold and there is nothing like a hot "cutting" chai followed up by a spicy Misal-Paav and more chai. Anything hot to cut into the wetness and slipperiness of the monsoons.

Biking in the rain is fun too. Yes it is risky but there are fewer vehicles and people/animals on the the risk of sliding out is offset by the lowered risk of a collision with another vehicle. I'd much rather have an accident all by myself than with some other object...then again - I'd much rather NOT be involved in any accident whatsoever to begin with :)

The real danger is when it has just rained for a few minutes. The grease, oil, grime and general road crap rises to the surface creating a slick mixture that can be lethal to any vehicle. You cannot fall off a car - but with only two narrow wheels, a motorcycle is very hard to control under these conditions. It is better to slowly move off to the slow lane, off the road and wait for 10 minutes for the rains to wash away the crap. When the roads are properly washed clean, you can ride with only a slightly less grip than dry. Still...concentration has to be spot-on because there is always the danger of a slide. Gaps in the roads are filled in with slick material and the new "Mastek" coating is also slick as HECK! I wheelspin my RD350s rear tire in 2nd and 3rd gear...sometimes even in 5th if I hit a patch of Mastek with a less than perfect surface. Scary!!

It is challenging to ride in the monsoons. You have to be prepared to get very VERY wet and cold. With the phone and wallet bundled inside a ziplock bag and some basic tools in the backpack and I am ready to set off once more into the hills.

I love the monsoons - I don't want it to rain here all the time but I will enjoy the season while it lasts.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sinner's Hold

Clouds gathered overhead
Dark and ominous and laden with rain
He pressed on up the sinuous road
His eyes narrowed to slits
Dark and ominous and tinged with pain
He had killed earlier tonight
The scent of fresh blood rent the air
He pressed on up the sinuous road
Gliding noiselessly up to his lair
He was the keeper of the sodden path
Those who went up never came back down
There were men who went looking for diamonds
Some went up to dig for gold
The keeper was always there to bury them
Those who dared trespass on Sinner's Hold...

Cursed was the path that led up the mountain
Even the brave drew away shuddering with fear
Turn your back to the path and you felt...
Something malevolent was watching you from near
When the sky goes dark and the wind dies down
When the air turns crisp and frosty cold
You have crossed the line into the realm of the keeper
You are dancing with death...
In Sinner's Hold...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bell...

Walking through the moldy wooden gate brought the memories rushing back...each one as crisp and clear as the leaves on the bushes by the side of the road, freshly washed by the recent showers. The smell of wet sand coupled with the moody patter of raindrops took him back twenty years, to a time when he was just a little boy...

"That is my pencil!"

"NO! Get your hands belongs to ME!"

"It is MINE I tell you...unghh.."

"Aaah! You're hurting me...let it GO!"


The scream of pain still echoed inside his head...his scream of pain. He remembered that day as vividly as if it were a feature film.

He could hear the frogs in the distance croaking loudly and then splashing into the murky pond water to avoid becoming a meal for the hungry kingfisher birds.

He was always the first in line when his class went on nature walks around the school. He would run ten steps ahead so he would be undisturbed in the wild lap of nature, free to explore before the rest of the expedition came crashing through. This was his africa, his Kanha and his Gir and he loved it.

Dong Ding Dong....Dong Ding Dong...Donnnnnnnnng

He could hear a bell ring in the distance and he smiled to himself wryly. The bell was a symbol of freedom. Pavlov couldn't have defined it better because, within seconds, the quiet lane was filled with fussy parents milling about, looking for their children. The children, on the other hand, were doing their darnedest to avoid their parents so they could sneak just a little more gossip and fun out of their day. School was closed for the day.

He could see the old banyan tree with it's great earth colored trunk and roots harboring those beautiful green and yellow leaves. He could see the children wearing colorful clothes running about without a care in the world. He could see...he really could!

He could almost forgive the boy who, in a moment of desperation, took away his eyesight with the freshly sharpened pencil. He couldn't remember how he looked...just the pain and the screams that still woke him up in the middle of the night sometimes.

'Not that I would know the difference between Night and Day' - He sighed...

There was a certain dignity in his steps as he turned off the path towards another smaller moldy and broken gate leading out of the school. He looked younger than when he first came in...he looked revived. This was his routine and he followed it without distraction. For him every day ended with the school bell.

With carefully measured steps he walked away from the school. People who knew him stopped to say a few words and some of them would walk with him for a bit. They always knew where to find him...

They never could understand why he walked through the old school that had been closed for almost ten years. There were snakes and thorns and he didn't seem to care and he always knew his way. They always thought they should tell him it was too dangerous for anyone, let alone a blind person, to be walking through the untended path alone...but they never came around to having that conversation with him...

'He'll be back tomorrow anyway...' - they thought

Then one day he stopped coming...

He was never to be seen thereafter. Nobody missed him too much anyway.

Anyone walking past the broken wooden gate in the evenings however heard a distant sound of a bell ringing inside the old school grounds...Those brave enough to walk through the hedges and up to the building never found a bell...

It rang everyday all the same...