Arthur C Clarke – Open Forum

I don’t think I need to introduce the life and times of Arthur Clarke to anyone here. For those that have not read his books, he had written 2001 Space Oddessy, which for me is one of the best films ever made by Stanley Kubrick. It is such a terrific exploration into the mind and consciousness. I saw it way before I ever thought of becoming a director and the images, the concepts of evolution, the idea of the unity of the universe into one timeless eternity still haunt me. Would anyone like to discuss your favourite books and writings by Arthur C Clarke here, as a tribute to this great mind ?

Oh Kashmir ! Yasin Malik at India Today Enclave

Was speaking at the India Today Enclave with Amir Khan. But then attended a panel where Yasin Malik was speaking. For those that do not remember, Yasin was at one time the leader of the most feared terrorist group in Kashmir. Now he is a political leader looking for peace and reconciliation with India and Pakistan, because he believes that the future of the youth of Kashmir depends upon the two nations coming to terms. But he still supports the right of the Kashmiri’s to decide on their own future, even if it meant an independent Kashmir. A few years ago if he was seen in Delhi he would been shot in sight by the armed forces. So full marks to India Today for having the courage to bring such disparate views on the same platform as Finance Minister Chidambaram, and even on the same dias as a member of India’s Parliament…

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Is Earth Fluid or Solid ?

I just flew from Delhi to Los Angeles and observed the earth from above as I always do. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran into Europe, I look at the incredible landscapes and realize how beautiful our planet really is. I peer carefully to see if I can see remote civilizations – small settlements and try and guess how people live there and what it means to live so far away form major cities. I also see no barriers and the earth flows seamlessly from one landscape to another, and not from one territorial nation to another. I have been flying for so many years but I can never stop myself from glueing my nose to the window every time….

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only vibrations

only vibrations
holding in their every pore
all possibilities
of all creation
past and present
and future
and all of eternity
only vibrations
colliding with each other
in ecstatic and eternal play
the universe,
but the universe,
at itself

is nothing something ?

india times said I was on a spiritual search because of the turmoil of my personal life and post oscar success of golden age. Not true. I have been in turmoil since I was 10.
In Delhi we used to sleep under the open skies on the terrace in summer. There was no light, sound or other pollution at that time. The universe was there to comprehend in all it’s fairy tale glory. The stars bright enough to create shadows of my hand on the white sheets. It was beautiful, as my mother would give me a glass of water from the earthen pot called the Surahi. I still miss the taste of the earth in the water I drank in the light of the universe. And as I would lie there, staring at the stars the inevitable question would nag me again. Where does the universe go ? What lies at the end of the universe ?….

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Mahashivratri with Sat Guru ‘Jaggi’ Vasudev

About 5 years ago I met an unassuming young man in a Sadhu’s garb in Puert Rico. Both of us were attending the conference on Deepak Chopra’s ‘Alliance of the new Humanity” and that was when I had my first ‘ride’ with him ! We drove into the middle of the night searching for a place where a function was being held in the old town. Driving with ‘jaggi’ is a hair raising experience. I called him the ‘speed’ Guru then. Of course he will not let any one else take the wheel just in case life becomes a little more sedate. There were other adventures on the way which I will write about later, but please read on to discover with me what I was really moved by..

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do not fear me

do not fear me
for i have nothing to take from you
my vast emptiness has no room
for all the wealth in the world
be fearless
and reveal yourself to me
for what you hide and protect
and enclose in your illusion,
your individuality,
is the thinnest skin of your real being
for beyond that skin
you and I exist as one
allow me to seep through
and let your self explode out
my well of ecstasy is overflowing,
drink from it’s waters
before it evaporates
to return as rain
in another eon
but if you drink in faith
you will purify the waters
and keep the well flowing
long after my ‘I” has dissolved

Renting out your body for sex – should it be legal ?

Notice I did not use the word prostitution. Somehow like suicide, it has a nasty and abhorrent ring to it. People kill themselves because for some reason they are unable to face life day to day. Whether the situation is real, or provoked by chemical imbalances in the brain, ( induced perhaps by medication), there is a compulsion and helplessness to it. I am sure there is a financial or other compulsion to selling your body for sex. Question we need to discuss is if that is inherently immoral, or more to the fact, illegal. Don’t get me wrong. The use of young children and the forced prostitution of girls/women is as abhorrent as rape, if not more. But if a man or a woman is consensually selling their body for sex, should that be illegal ? If so, then at what age ? And most importantly, would legalizing prostitution allow the state to have greater control over it ? Reduce the criminal activity that surrounds it, and vastly reduce the spread of aids by having licensing laws to control this trade. Like now in some European countries. Knowing that nowhere n the world has any country been able to eradicate or even control this trade ?

Heath Ledger and Four Feathers

Dear Shekhar –
It is a month and two days since he has past. This is the night of the Academy Awards and he is still very much on my mind. I somehow got linked to your site partly because of my discovery of your movie The Four Feathers which I will come back to. I really resonate with the sentiments expressed by TG in post number 10. I too, an ordinary American middle-aged business woman, have been dumbfounded by how affected I have been by Heath Ledger’s passing. I’m a very practical person, yes with a love of movies, but I’m not at an impressionable age and not prone to movie start infatuation or worship.
So it has been very mysterious and strange to me why I have been so impacted, indeed, actually experiencing grief – my heart, as thousands of others, goes out to his family and loved ones. Every night I have prayed for his soul’s safe journey. To try and understand the why of this grief over a person I have never known, I have gone and watched his movies. I had seen A Knight’s Tale, The Patriot, Monsters Ball and Brokeback Mountain and believed him to be one of the few young actors who was truly on the path to acting greatness. But, I am principally writing this to you to tell you that The Four Feathers was a revelation. I believe it to be my now favorite Ledger movie (and now I have seen all of them except the ones not yet released). It is not a perfect movie (few are) but I think it is an incredibly under valued movie maybe partly due to when it was released post 9/11. I know this might be blasphemy to some but I like this movie more than Lawrence of Arabia. The actors were wonderful. Besides Heath in the starring role — Wes Bentley and the wonderful Djimon Hounsou. After seeing all of Heath Ledger’s roles, what stays in my mind is the pivotal scene in the desert. The first time I saw this film I broke down and cried after this scene. I watched the entire film again a couple of days ago. Watching this scene again, I realized that Ledger was not becoming great, he was great and I am thankful his body of work exists. This scene goes way beyond the organic basic need to survive against all odds to a place that is born from total physical and spiritual anguish. The roar that Heath brings up from somewhere deep, deep down to conquer his assailant is raw primal power and expresses a language of soul that can not be adequately articulated.
Shekhar, you mentioned that you will write more about Heath and I hope you do. I want to read more about Heath not for celebrity sensationalism but to continue to celebrate the greatness of the actor and to celebrate his body of work. So tonight, in the spirit of the movies and awards, I will raise a glass to heaven to Heath and also to you Shekhar and give my own little award to The Four Feathers.
Thank you, Sheri.

just a thought

“life lies in the eye of the beholder”
any takers for a discussion on that ?