24 thoughts on “An Open Thread

  1. I have a few questions – why depend on speculative knowledge when there is a final solution available ? If it is speculative why be biased when we know we dont know ? why do we use conjectures , quotes , suggestions of other equally blind scientists ? Does questioning and not finding the answers so condition our minds that when the solution does appear in front of us , we still cannot get over this ‘perpetual seeking ‘ – making a virtue out of this ‘ journey’ when actually – if we look properly , there is the solution and the final goal very well defined for us ?
    what is scientific ?why does everything that passes the test of ‘science’ as we knoww it, lend credence? since when did science and religion start differing? is it applicable to all religions -does it apply for the indian condition?
    how pure is really the word ‘love’ ? is it something influenced a lot by the body-nerve complex? is it just a need of the mind and body which we romanticise and extend and keep revisiting endlessly while the body continiously progresses towards incapacity anyway ?
    does truth give happiness ? is that why we seek to bury in a bit of welcome ignorance which gives us pleasure and company , however false?
    why are we so blind and dont yet see it ?

  2. poetry — yours; your visual mind; music; dance; your early years; people cribbing your visual ideas almost verbatim.
    love, Heath

  3. For quite sometime now I have been intrigued about Faith, Belief, and Hope…to the extent of asking Shekhar to write about what he felt about it…it always confuses & entertains me that there is something in us and yet so beyond our control that gives us a kind of a meaning to live!

  4. Generation gaps…, Why do we grow apart in more ways than one in our relationships?
    Is it abnormal for a younger person to seek a balance between the material and
    spiritual world and be interested in meditation, philosophy etc, yet have a very normal thought process?
    Is it wrong to question what has always been the norm and just speak out your mind against something which one feels is wrong… is this EGO?
    Why is there a need to control another person in the name of love ,possessiveness or even affection – isn’t this selfishness?
    Is there something called ‘destiny’ or is it just ‘choices’ and ‘consequences’.

  5. the recent agitation of the name ‘bollywood’ given to the indian film industry and why now, when it is a recognised global brand are there reasons, seemingly strong ones, to change it.

  6. Sheetal , those are indeed , words to feel intrigued about – hope is perhaps the difference between life and death -there are so many people who endure the life’s many pains in the hope that tommorow brings a better life , hope in a way is the ray of light for those who are trapped in the dark – ie for those who realise they are in the dark .
    hope itself implies faith by definition – there is no hope without faith in something – and when we look around perhaps faith is the singular thing that keep life going . i am not sure if pain and death are the same thing though ?
    i think its about having the heart for things – that is the only difference between real life and the state of death – so perhaps its not surprising that this ‘ meaning of life’ we invent and seek is an oxymoron . people who are doing well in life in every way and are happy by definition – perhaps dont feel the need to think about those words ?

  7. Dear Shekhar,
    This is the first time I am writing and I would like to be a regular part of this board. I am 32 and live in TIMES SQUARE, MANHATTAN (yes within the same zip code 10036). I am a business grad from the US and lived most of my life till my undergrad in Delhi.
    Things that I’d like to discuss would be the ones I feel really passionate about. I live alone in a very pretty apartment (have mainly American friends, who take me to places like LE CIRQUE and ST.REGIS regularly). Coming from a purely capitalistic mindset I would like you or anyone to comment on the following things:
    6. WHAT MATTERS? – I once read a quote (I read thousands) about not taking life too seriously which stuck with me – “NOTHING MATTERS VERY MUCH, AND FEW THINGS MATTER AT ALL” – According to you – WHAT MATTERS IN THIS LIFE – IF ANYTHING AT ALL?
    I really respect you so you can choose any of the above 6 topics and tell me what you feel and I will reply with utmost sincerity.
    I’ll hope to hear from all of you.
    Thank you,
    Indian Achiever (for now)

  8. Riya , interesting poser – choices and consequences actually begin after we are born. what about the choice of birth ? is it made at all? or is it nature that chooses which womb we enter as a soul?
    unless that is answered i dont think we can really hit the truth about choices we make. perhaps the law of karma is true then , since it explains that the sum total of our actions of mind and body decide our next birth – and this whole concept of re-incarnation was so simply accepted by our ancestors – so in many ways choices and consequences make our destiny – we dont yet completely know what action has what consequence .
    for instance we underestimate the power of good – even the people who are ‘obviously’ undeserving for some reasons – may in their private lives be doing a lot of good knowingly or unknowingly , i think thats where the mathematical prescision of karma comes in – whether you do an act of mind and body , knowingly or unknowingly , it adds up to the balance sheet of karma.
    amazing , if only we knew that was the truth or that karma is the rule book of the universe. perhaps it is , perhaps it isnt -it boild down to faith , which again is an act of mind which itself is a karmic thing…phew.

  9. Rudra:About truth and happiness
    The way I see it, for some truth is almost like a resolve and although they seek the truth all the time, happiness eludes them as it is deemed not practical in the world we live in. Most of the time people revel in ignorance as bliss and proudly accept it.
    Even when one tries to educate or impress upon others the need to look around life with ‘open’ eyes it never works coz, in my opinion the need to, change perspective has to come from within one’s self.
    It reminds me of little children who are in their little shell which is coated at times with untruths to protect their innocence and, they’re so happy! In this case, the happiness is well worth it…
    Truth I hear has three versions – ‘my’,’your’ and the ‘actual’.
    I don’t think we are blind – its more looking at something with jaundiced eyes (impressions, prejudices, trust, faith adding colors to it).

  10. Dear Shekhar: I have always believed that genius is an element of innocence. Innocence which believes that everything is possible and everyone is worthy. Innocence which does not fear “God” and becomes one with him. I would love to know how you perceive a “genius” and his perception of world.

  11. Thanks Rudra,
    Yep …’may be’…people who are doing well in life in every way and are happy by definition perhaps don’t feel the need to think about those words!
    But ‘may be’ THESE are the right ones to answer this question… otherwise… there are people who support HOPE, faith and belief… and then there are people like me, who will “believe” that hope is something that should come after all your ‘actions’ are correct and yet the desired result won’t come.
    But then if the action is correct then why won’t result come? Doesn’t that mean that the action itself was performed wrongly…and more than HOPE you will need another ‘method’ of doing the action!… (of course every action need not be done by a ‘method’, and every action need not have a result)…
    I hope you get what I mean…or may be I’m talking nonsense…(or may be I’m not…)
    But anyways…I don’t know anybody as happy (by definition either because I’m not… and I don’t find)…so the point will come down to…speculative knowledge…without having the final solution (at least for me! -…and if u see I have used n number of ‘may be’s…’perpetual seeking’???).
    But honestly I would want to find…the ONE final answer (and keep adding to that. If necessary)…what are: “faith, hope and belief” and how do they play on our minds?

  12. Sheetal , thats a very vital question you posed – ‘But then if the action is correct then why won’t result come?’ – the very thing all kinds of prophets and preahcers tried to take advantage of , in human history .
    That is what makes us doubt the work we do – the path of action is quite a mesmerising one – there are so many dependencies we dont or cant foresee – most of the results are effected by whimsical human institutions presided by equally whimsical humans !
    but i cant agree that all actions need not have a result – that would violate the fundamentals of physical nature – action , however subtle will lead to a result , wouldnt it ?…
    assuming we did find the final answer , would existance be so much more un-interesting thereafter ? or is it just another one of those fears which drive our quest for the answers anyway ?
    i could be very wrong , but i cant help thinking that that the One Final asnwer may lie in knwoing more about our human structure – perhaps the final answer lies in this combination of anti-matter and matter that is the human being ?

  13. Thanks Rudra for rationalizing choices and destiny.
    I was reading about neural networks and interpretations of vibrations/aura – as you said the mind thing or brain connection could be karmic.. never know.

  14. There are numerous dilemmas attached to living as a first generation migrant in a foreign country. What started out as a global adventure for us has now left us on the crossroads… Like everyone, we have had our own triumphs and tragedies along the way.
    We had our reality-check a year or so ago when my mother met with a near-fatal accident. I would like to share a piece that I wrote soon after that. I wrote it to put things into perspective and to document my pain…
    I would like the readers to share their thoughts on coping with a rather difficult subject of “Aging parents living half a world away”.
    It is very long, so please feel free to skip.
    Mum – I Love You…
    I wanted to say something the day we got mum from the hospital. The moment was too overwhelming that the words just did not come out. Instead, we heard a light-hearted speech (read gobbledygook) from Arsh my one year old son. May be that was more appropriate!
    Now when I slump into my armchair, I still don’t know what to say. The last one month has seen plethora emotions, such as, disbelief, trauma, guilt, despair, anxiety, helplessness, speculation, relief and sometimes even anger.
    As a family, on the 22nd of September our world came to a standstill. Some of us who witnessed the horrors on that day would still be recovering from it. Charu, Bobby and Shal, It was your courage, thoughtfulness, ability, and some divine intervention that brought our mother back from the jaws of fatality. I could only imagine what you may have gone through.
    On that morning, it was only after many failed attempts to contact Mum, Dad, and Shal that I got through on Bobby’s cell phone. I was expecting a regulation ‘hello’. But what followed were heart-wrenching, hapless cries of a son. I knew something had gone terribly wrong. I just did not know what… My heart and mind went in all directions while I might have cried ‘What happened?’ a zillion times. Shal took over the phone. She was able to speak, but was unusually loud, breathing heavily and stressing at every word while delivering the facts that any son would dread and given a choice, would trade for anything.
    Questions sprawled all over my mind. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know it all. What, how, where, extent, recovery. How were the rest of them coping? Papa and Varun? They were the most vulnerable. The oldest and the youngest. I slumped into the ground and made a follow-up phone call to Papa. This was the most distraught dad that I had ever heard in my life. What he said between the sobs and cries was mostly incomprehensible. There was nothing I could do to comfort him. There was nothing he could do to comfort me. As a young kid I had always placed him on a pedestal and made him into a role-model. I knew I could never be like him, but nonetheless tried to emulate everything that I liked about him. I always turned to him in a moment of despair for either support or forgiveness. He never disappointed. This time was different. We were both vulnerable and weak.
    After series of messages and phone calls, one thing became very clear. We all had to get together to fight this. But how? It was technically impossible for us to take the next flight to India. Veenu did not have a passport and Arsh’s visa had expired. The people at the Indian consulate were as ruthless and insensitive as ever. They seem to have a script that they follow while handing out visas. Anything outside that script is offered an inconclusive Indian nod. The woman at the counter heard me out and instead of displaying any compassion or making a positive suggestion, repeated what she had already said before: “Submit the completed application forms in the morning. Attach your flight details. It will take 5 working days”. I was too drained and lifeless to even think about protesting.
    The next four or five days were full of anxiety and impatience, numerous phone calls, and lots of prayers. Charu and Shal were continuously keeping us in sync with mum’s current state. We were moving from confusion to clarity. As the days progressed, we became clearer about the damage. To picture things from this far was still quite difficult. Meanwhile, the last leg of the journey to Delhi was confirmed just a couple of days before starting out.
    We boarded the plane in a totally unfamiliar state of mind. There was a certain filter applied to the mind. We were not thinking the usual things. It was a more philosophical state of mind. We were debating about life in general. How you cannot take a single day for granted. How you must love each other as much as you can each day. More than that, how important it is to sometimes, pause, and say “I love you” to someone you love. I figured that I hadn’t done that enough to mum. I had not done that enough in the last 30 years. I could not remember a single incidence of holding hands and saying to her how important she was to me. Growing up, I concentrated on friends, sports, movies, other fun things and eventually work. I loved mum all along, but, I didn’t think I had to tell her that. I was so wrong! I could have easily missed the train! There were dreadful questions: What if we had lost her? How will I console myself for the rest of my life? It was just so distressing. Veenu and I talked out most of the journey, mostly counseling each other.

  15. I should not be discussing this topic here as its a personal matter but yes i did not like when u split up with suchitra..It broke our hearts, wished if this had not happened.

  16. Hey Shekhar,
    I always preferred reading your blogs like I would read of any other person’s than carrying a baggage of considering u as a celebrity during these discussions. But now, since its an open thread and I am allowed to write what I wish to, then I just wanted to tell u that watching masoom has always been an overwhelming experience for me. You must have made better movies but this one is just a beautiful movie because of its simplicity, maturity and brilliant actors. It just shows how adept the person is in crafting his imagination for the viewers to see. 🙂
    On a lighter note, it would be fun if you could share some light anecdotes in your movie making experience and hence be a fresh change from serious issues that we have been discussing of late 🙂

  17. Thank you, Nikita. I have intended to set up a seperate chat room for Masson as so many people seem to remember it. But the blog got much more attention than I anticipated it would. So got caught in the present ratehr than the past. But I do intent to do so, and if I don’t, just remind me pl. Shekhar

  18. Shekhar,
    I think masoom was released in 1983, & i vidily remember, I was 3 yrs old back then! I grew up on “lakdi ki kaathi…” & Nikita has made a fine request. we need to know more abt masoom. It was indeed a very sensitive topic handled with utmost care. I would also like to compliment you as a very perceptive & approachable writer. why don’t u write for timesofindia? I read ur blogs more often than any other TOI editorials?

  19. Unity in diversity. Humans are all so different, our reasonings, approach, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions etc. Yet we have common needs of acceptance, sharing, team-work, communication, friendship etc. which bring us together. Such diverse unique selves thrown into interdependence …makes a fascinating fabric.

  20. Dear Shekhar,
    I’m not sure what is the best way to get a hold of you, but I came across your blog and I thought I might as well give it a shot. I work for an South Asian publication in Canada called Mehfil Magazine and we were hoping to feature you in a section where we spotlight famous South Asians from around the world. The interview would be a short Q&A focusing on your current projects and past work, if you could please get back to me when you get a chance it would be much appreciated.

  21. Dear Shekhar,
    Today i was drawn to visit your websire as for some reason I have been missing in intent.blog.
    I wrote “missing you and your creations ” wondering what fragment within me am I addressing and projecting in this connection…
    For some strange reason I adore the pic with your daughter …
    this love where words fail to come through …
    a theme I love to explore and learn from …
    specially from those like yourself who inspire me to be the best in who I am …
    noticing my thoughts …
    who is talking ???
    oh yes …
    the voice of longing…
    for love, respect and dignity …
    as I think of my tears as I started a project with orphans (from HIV) to assist them to recreate their lives and to make it a masterpirce …
    their deepest longing …
    to make a difference … to give back what they learn to their communities…
    the need to inspire them with great leaders like yourself …
    so that they can multiply themselves and help us to create a better society …
    that makes us feel proud …
    the same yearning I came across as i walked at night in the streets of India …
    talking to the yongsters I came across …
    some with phsyical tearings from the bomb explosion days before …
    eyes that become old before their time …
    specially in a violent society that has lost touch with their legacy …
    causes I would love to interact with …
    aware of how overwhelmed I feel at times …

  22. Dear Shekhar,
    The other day while going thru one of my comments on your site my Dad felt and did tell me something to the effect that I could find something negative even in Mother Teresa if that is all I was looking for in the most perfect of human beings.
    He said I should also learn the art of appreciation.
    Well,why would I be visiting this site and spending time on it If I did not appreciate the daring(Bandit Queen),the magic(Mr.India),the cosmopolitan outlook(the Elizabeths),the genuine concern(Paani),the deep understanding of relationships and family with its warts and all(Masoom)and courage in failure(Four Feathers) of its creator.
    What does it tell of the intensity of my appreciation if it becomes known that the only site I have in my internet history besides my email site is this one.
    Finally,I may be wrong(being 30 I can only evolve/correct myself for the better), but somehow I never found merit in the saying “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours(wives and GFs excused)” and being overly diplomatic.
    Especially in an interaction whose purspose (to me) seems to be exploration,mutual evolution, reform, re-assurance,reaffirmation(direct feedback from the street without the coterie)and providing an alternative for public/fans to the once-in-a-while-blackmail-power of press notoriety.
    Is someone recalling Redford’s words to Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-“You think too much!!”.

  23. Can you believe this story from Denver?
    I just read this and had to share it with the community.
    This poor woman, just can’t believe that this actually happens in this day and age, what a shame.
    (CNN) — Three police cars pulled into Christina FourHorn’s front yard one afternoon just before she was supposed to pick up her daughter at school. The officers had a warrant for her arrest.
    “What do you mean robbery?” FourHorn remembers asking the officers. Her only brushes with the law had been a few speeding tickets.
    She was locked up in a Colorado jail. They took her clothes and other belongings and handed her an oversize black-and-white striped uniform. She protested for five days, telling jailers the arrest was a mistake. Finally, her husband borrowed enough money to bail her out.
    “They wouldn’t tell me the details,” she said.
    Later, it became clear that FourHorn was right, that Denver police had arrested the wrong woman. Police were searching for Christin Fourhorn, who lived in Oklahoma.
    Their names were similar, and Christina FourHorn, a mother with no criminal record living in Sterling, Colorado, had been caught in the mix-up.

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