An accident on London Streets

This picture has a peculiar story. I was rushing by Piccadilly in London not sure what was happening and just clicked on it. A very large man standing next to me looked at me accusingly

” what the fuck did you shoot that for”

I looked carefully and realized it was an accident. Mumbled an apology and left. I had obviously upset his sensibilities and it was understandable. As I was a bit away he shouted

” You shit head”

I thought about a confrontation. Decided I would do so, and went back to him.

” Do you watch TV ??” I said.

“what business is it of yours, but yes”

“and you watch video’s of Afghan kids dying on the streets, and Iraqi civilians with their limbs blown off, and every where else that your troops have caused death and destruction and your media has gleefully put them on your TV and you watch them. But it’s not OK for me to shoot something in the street of London that may have been an accident ? Why ?”

I wish I could send him this picture to compare mine to the ones media shows.

I was being unreasonable I knew, but was angry. I was actually angry at all the the hype being given to the new Wiki leaks about what the US and British troops did. Like the world did not know all this was going on ? What kind of naivety is that ?

Quantum Chips, an intuitive, creative computer ?

Bristol University announced they have developed a chip that works not electromagnetically but through light (did I get that right ?), so it’s not only much much faster but also one that works on the principles of Quantum Physics. Where particles can be at several places at the same time.

Now am I getting this right ? Are we talking about a computer that can live with principles of Uncertainty and Chaos, and deduce results that are defined from there ? Is this the beginning of HAL out of 2001 Space Odyssey ? The applications possible with this chip are mind boggling.

A camera that can intuitively sense your ‘eye’ over time and frame pictures exactly as you would like them, but once you feed in all the masters (say Renoir) it could see your pics with the ‘eye’ of Renoir. Make everyone into a master photographer.

A Robot of course. But more essentially :

a. Medical diagnosis by a computer not really needing a doctor, so taking medical services to where they are needed most.
b. teaching without teachers
c. Intuitive Robots reaching outer edges of Space, saying ” Houston , we have a problem’
d. Chips designed to learn their own structures and continuously exploring their own ‘quantum, structure and exploring the micro meaning of the universe,

and to me the best : A computer that can write a creative script for a film that does not need to sleep, or take weekends off. And whom I could have hours of discussions and arguments with,

I could go and so could you, but have I got it completely wrong ?

Does God exist ? Stephen Hawkin’s ‘hot’ new debate

No, actually He does not. Neither does She. Neither does any religion push the existence of an individual as God. Buddha denied the existence of God except as the idea of ‘nothingness’. Christ was the Son (and therefore born of) God that is Eternal and the Light. The Prophet Mohammad was the Prophet through whom God the Almighty and Omnipresent spoke. The fundamentals of Hinduism are based on the idea’s of an eternity that encompasses all existence as described by Krishna (or at least revealed to) Arjun in the Bhagvad Geeta. Each religion has attempted to expand the concept of God to include ideas of universal eternal love and compassion.

I sometimes feel people keep raising these issues to sell their books or to get on to TV shows.

Of course science will go continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge in the logical understanding of our Universe. And wise philosophers and spiritualists will continue to co opt that part of science that somehow corresponds with concepts of centuries old spiritualists. Such as quantum physics. But while science can give us many theories to describe love, can it give us the experience of love ? And are experience and analysis the same thing ? No they are not.

There in lies the difference. We live in an infinite universe that we must describe and measure in finite terms for it to be ‘scientific’. The ideas of infinity can only come as mathematical possibilities with a ‘constant’ always needed to complete the infinite equation. More often than not that ‘constant’ is the assumption of ‘non linearity of time’ . Which will be proven no doubt, but to a human ego existing and addicted to the idea of linearity of time, ‘eternity’ is essentially incomprehensible other than in moments of expansive emotions of ‘faith’ and ‘love’.

The spiritualists describe the Universe as infinite probabilities. Infinite potential. It exists as you imagine it does. In fact it exists and does not exist at the same moment.

So does God also exist and not exist at the same time ? Is there a ‘being’ that is pulling all the strings of the Universe according to huge design ? Yes, if the design is infinite. And encompasses all possibilities that gives infinite choice. The idea being not someone or somebody that controls the Universe , but a Universe that is consistently creating and destroying itself.

Can there be a scientific equation that ‘explains’ the Universe ? Yes, if you could find an equation that is consistently evolving and destroying itself, refusing to be a static defined representation of our infinite existence.

‘A Blackberry Addict’ Part 2: The story of Lattoo

“You should be accepting credit cards” I said. “No one carries cash anymore you know, get one of those machines that waiters have?”

The young boy grinned widely. Smiling benignly at my perfectly impossible request. Probably has never seen the inside of a restaurant that takes credit cards.

“How much does it cost ?” I asked pointing at one of the five ‘original’ Blackberry car chargers he was holding up. I am one of those that regularly charge my Blackberry last thing before I sleep, but often forget to turn ‘on’ the main power switch. Don’t you get confused between the US and India, where off is on, and on is off ?

“250 rupees”. Five dollars

‘But I don’t have any cash”, I said ” will take it next time I pass through”. By now the cars behind me are angrily honking away. The lights are about to turn from red to green. You notice in India how people start honking at you before they turn green ?

“No, you take it now, and pay me later when you pass through”

The cars honking increased as I sat there looking straight into his honest eyes. Is he serious ? Not a hint of doubt there.

“How will I find you ?” For we were at a heavy traffic junction where most boys his age and dressed like him are begging.

“Oh, just ask for me, take it and pay me later. My name is Lattoo”. Means a spinning top. But my head was spinning now, this kid was making a sale, and he was gambling on the negotiation like a pro. Could this really be true ?

By now drivers were passing me by and hooting to show their displeasure.

“But what if you are not here when I pass again ?”

” Here, put my mobile number in you Blackberry, just call me”, he said as he handed the Blackberry charger to me.

I had enough charge for that, so quickly did and drove away before the lights turned red.

The whole transaction took about a minute in which Lattoo made a quick risk assessment against potential return. And no, he did not recognize me. In that time he told me he bought the charger for Rs 250, but I insisted he told me the truth so he admitted to Rs 230.

Given that I have spent the whole of yesterday and last night with my lawyers going through reams of contracts from executives covering every possible eventuality in a transaction, I was amazed at the trust a street urchin put in a transaction.

I am flying to London tomorrow. My office has Lattoo’s no, and Rs 500 to give him. He deserves it. When I come back I am going to call him and invest Rs 5000 in him and show him the same trust he showed in me. For he showed true entreprenuership at grass root level.

And yes, the charger works !

where is this place called paradise ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except within the misery of the hungry
and dispossessed people ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except in the dark recesses and demons
of your own mind ?

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except within the daily struggle
to find that elusive ‘peace’

where is this place called ‘Paradise’

except in the breathing in
of all that is,
and in the letting go
of that breath

Killing your Dreams, reproduced from Paulo Coelho’s blog (with his permission)- it’s amazing

1 min reading: Killing our dreams

Published on July 31, 2010 in News. 222 Comments

The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons

Words from Petrus to me during The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Love, trust and faith in directing

Beyond words, sounds. Beyond a blink, a sigh, a smile, a touch, a frown. Is there communication in absolute silence and stillness ? Is there communication in a sense of being ? Beyond just the simplistic scientific ideas of thought transfer and telepathy ?

I have often felt such strong communication in the presence of absolute Love and trust. Not with just vague ideas of words like ‘Hey I love you” thrown at each other , but love and trust that is focussed, active and eager at that moment. Which when combined together seem to bring our deeper selves out from our assumed physical containment, into an energy that mingles and entangles with each other. And that mingling leads to something more ethereal, more harmonious and ideas so limitless that words and gestures could not have conjured up.

I often do that when I direct. I ‘sense’ rather than speak about my relationship with actors. I actively try and create a sense of trust and bonding of love not only with my actors, but with everyone on the set. When the actors are performing, I am loosing my identity into them and creating so called ‘energy fields’ around the set so we all become part of a harmonious ‘moment’ urging for something to be created beyond ourselves but also through ourselves. And often in response they are doing the same.

Not only in my experience with actors like Cate Blanchet , Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush and Naseeruddin Shah, with whom I have had experiences where our souls have had the courage to be ‘naked’ in front of each other for that moment, our senses acutely alive to some deeper and often unknown aspect of ourselves in each other, leading to a performance where in hindsight you wonder in awe where and how it evolved so unpredictlably but yet so beautifully.

But also with musicians like Nusrat fateh Ali Khan and A R Rahman. With Nusrat most of the communication was done by him looking into my eyes and singing with tears flowing from both our eyes, having been transported to a realm higher than ourselves. I have been blessed by moments when such people that have trusted and loved me too.

Often producers have felt insecure that I do not look at the ‘Video Monitor’ judging the ‘shot’. I cannot. How do I trust a moment of absolute faith and maintain a connect of love and faith with my actors through a machine ?

But of course such love and trust is possible only after huge amounts of thought and dialogue between my actors and composers and scriptwriters. Before trust comes, there must be understanding. But at the moment of ‘creation’ it all has to be let go into the search for something beyond all that was said and discussed, into something unpredictable.

It’s the essence of all creativity, a huge sense of focussed discipline, followed by a complete letting go. Into moments of absolute faith.

Directing is so much like living. Love , trust and faith.

the cycle


and joy, burtsing out

like a river dammed in by pain

finally released in exhilaration

into gentle calmness

still, but


to feel that exhilaration again

by bursting out

from pain,

am I doomed

to the cycle of

exhilaration and pain ?

while listening to

the dronings of wise men

about peace

they themselves know

nothing about ?


This published article was sent to me and I reproducing it here on my blog and hope the author has no objections. It’s a very very insightful and important read.


The repeat of devastation of Sindhu Valley Civilization

By Umendra Dutt

About two years ago my friend the famous singer Rabbi Shergill in one of his
Punjabi article says “There is no doubt that it was just because of a major
environmental change that the great civilization of Indus valley had
completely vanished. The same reasons, in the same form are today existed
before us. The only difference between the both situations is this that in
those times it was a natural disaster but this time it is of man made”.

Rabbi equated present situation of Punjab with Sindh valley which destroyed
because of water scarcity.

Rabbi concluded his article by saying ‘Sindh ghaatti aj fir maran nu tyaar
hai’ which means Sindh valley is again prepared to die “Will this really
happen?” I asked my co-passengers “Of course, it is a degrading environment
and a dying civilization in Punjab; a whole community has been put to slow
death” affirmed Dr Amar Singh Azad, my senior colleague in Kheti Virasat
Mission. “It is a crime committed against humanity and nature by our own
governments, that too in the name of Development”, I said, endorsing his
observation. All of us were very upset and angry after visiting villages
near Dhakansu drain and Ghaghar River in Patiala and Sangrur districts.

This was our third visit to a river or drain area to educate ourselves on
environmental toxicity and its multiple impacts. About eight years ago, I
did a padayatra along the Jayanti River in Ropar district. I found several
similarities between the disappearance of Jayanti and Ghaghar rivers. Both
rivers have lost their relevance after society forgot and neglected the
significance of these rivers.
The river eco-system was ruined at both places
by the developmental activities carried out by “modern society”. Our latest
Yatra was a field visit to learn more on the crisis of water, environmental
toxicity, condition of agriculture, biodiversity, the unfolding health
crisis and the socio- economic fallout of this ecological disaster.

The entire picture is extremely frightening. There has been a lot of debate
on the severe health and water tragedy apparent in the districts of Malwa
region. But we should correct our view point – it is the whole of Punjab
that seems to be under deadly devastation now. Some of our well-wishers ask
us again and again that – “Why are you activists bent on such
scare-mongering around these things?” I would like to repeat the words of Dr
Azad here – “Yes, we want to create a scare, because the situation is far
more destructive and scary than our government and people can ever imagine.

It is a life and death question for Punjab; it is clearly evident that
Punjab is a dying civilization.
Several people may find this offending, ugly
and uncalled for. However, the indications that we are getting from across
Punjab point to a death sentence written for the whole eco-system in this
part of the country and particularly for this brave community.

‘Villages up for sale’ are a unique symbol of distress and devastation in
Punjab …..

Read the rest of this entry »

A Blackberry addict discovers grassroots enterprise in India

A greater ‘hole in the wall’ you cannot imagine. A small fading sign on the top saying “Cellphoon reapars” barely visible through the street vendors crowding the Juhu Market in Mumbai. On my way to buy a new Blackberry, my innate sense of adventure (foolishness) made me stop my car and investigate. A shop not more than 6 feet by 6 feet. Grimy and uncleaned.

‘Can you fix a blackberry ?”

‘ Of course , show me”

” How old are you”


Bullshit. He was no more than 10. Not handing my precious blackberry to a 10 year old in unwashed and torn T shirt and pyjama’s ! At least if I buy a new one, they would extract the data for me. Something I have been meaning to do for a year now.

‘What’s wrong with it ?”

‘Well, the roller track ball does not respond. It’s kind of stuck and I cannot operate it”

He grabs it from my hand and looks at it

“You should wash your hands. Many customers have same problem. Roller ball get greasy and dirty, then no working’

Look who was telling me to wash my hands. He probably has not bathed for 10 days, I leaned out to snatch my useless blackberry back.

” you come back in one hour and I fix it’

I am not leaving all my precious data in this unwashed kid’s hands for an hour. No way.

“who will fix it ?”

‘Big brother’

‘ How big is ‘big brother?’

‘big …. umm ..thirty’

Then suddenly big brother walks in. 30 ??? He is no more than 19.

‘What problem ?’ He says grabbing the phone from my greasy hand into his greasier hand. Obviously not trained in etiquette by an upmarket retail store manager.

‘Normal blackberry problem. I replace with original part now. You must wash your hand before you use this’

What is this about me washing my hands suddenly ?? 19 year old big brother rummages through a dubious drawer full of junk and fishes out a spare roller ball packed in cheap cellophane wrapper. Original part ? I doubt it.

But by now I am in the lap of the real India and there is no escape as he fishes out a couple of screwdrivers and sets about opening my Blackberry.

“How long will this take ?”

” Six minutes ”

This I have to see. After spending the whole morning trying to find a Blackberry service centre and getting vague answers about sending the phone in for an assessment that might take a week, I settle down next to his grubby cramped work space. At least I am going to be able to watch all my stored data vanish into virtual space. People crowd around to see what’s happening. I am not breathing easy anyway. I tell myself this is an adventure and literally have to stop myself grabbing my precious blackberry back and making a quick escape.

But in exactly six minutes this kid handed my blackberry back. He had changed the part and cleaned and serviced the the whole phone. Taken it apart, and put it together. As I turned the phone on there was a horrific 2 minutes where the phone would not come on. I looked at him with such hostility that he stepped back.

‘you have more than thousand phone numbers ?”


‘backed up ?’


‘Must back up. I do it for you. Never open phone before backing up’

‘You tell me that now ?’

But then the phone came on and my data was still there. Everyone watching laughed and clapped. This was becoming a show. A six minute show.

I asked him how much.

‘ 500 rupees’ He ventured uncertainly . People around watched in glee expecting a negotiation. Thats $ 10 dollars as against the Rs 30,000 ($ 600) I was a about to spend on a new blackberry or a couple of weeks without my phone. I looked suitably shocked at his ‘high price ‘ but calmly paid him. Much to the disapointment of the expectant crowd.

‘do you have an Iphone ? Even the new ‘4′ one ?

‘no, why”

‘I break the code for you and load any ‘app’ or film you want. I give you 10 film on your memory stick on this one, and change every week for small fee’

I went home having discovered the true entreprenuership that lies at what we call the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Some may call it piracy, which of course it is, but what can you say about a two uneducated and untrained brothers aged 10 and 19 that set up a ‘hole in the wall’ shop and can fix any technology that the greatest technologists in the world can throw at them.

I smiled at the future of our country. If only we could learn to harness this potential.

‘Please wash your hands before use’ were his last words to me. Now I am feeling seriously unclean.