Friday, November 6, 2009

Our hats off to the silent genius


I am no great fan of cricket, apart from a passing interest generally displayed on lazy afternoons. My insider's dope on the personal lives of the cricketers is next to nil and heck I don't even have a autograph. No cricket bat/ball adorns my room and if someone invites me for a game of cricket, I settle down comfortably into the role of an arm chair critic. But after what I saw yesterday, my admiration for one man has reached the zenith - Sachin Tendulkar. Look at his figures. My eyes were riveted as this man stood his ground and took those amazing shots wherever it was possible and made the impossible seem achievable. His team mates came and went and contributed next to nothing (except for the likes of Sehwag and Raina) while this man chased, ran and exerted himself to every possible extent to show that this was not just a game of cricket. There was lot at stake. Even if he had to go down, he had to make noise and show that the victory would not be easy as long as the likes of him were around. That is why it was such a pleasure to watch him defeat the well-planned strategies of Ricky Ponting. And that is why it was with a sad sigh that I watched him fall down as the exhaustion finally caught up with him. And that is why I watched with anger as the rest of his teammates destroyed what he had so painstakingly built. It was like Taj Mahal being built in a fast forward mode, and then being subjected to brute destruction. While the better known of his teammates hog the headlines with their adverts, their driving Hummers without registration, and their occasional forays into the world of fashion and glamour, this silent genius prefers to rise to the occasion, like a lion. Hats off to Sachin Tendulkar!

From my Diary


AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER

I had copied this prayer in my diary a long long time ago and haven't been able to trace the source. The power of belief that the prayer celebrates has held my fascination, though the page on which this prayer was written by itself has yellowed.


I've been praying for you
In a special kind of way,
I do not ask for favours
Nor grovel while I pray.

I make the affirmation
That you can carry through
The work you've undertaken
And things you want to do.

I say you have the wisdom,
The vision and the strength
To reach the goal you're seeking,
And you will win at length.

I see you in fulfillment
Of the purposes you seek;
And in imagination
You're standing on the peak.

And then I thank the good Lord
That the thing a man believes
And what he dares to picture
Is the thing man receives.

From my diary


Microscopic forms of cardiac hemorrhages have become very frequent in the recent years. They are not always fatal. Some people get over them. It's a typical modern disease. I think its causes are of a moral order. The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to get affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn't just a fiction, it's a part of our physical body and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can't be forever violated with impunity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mountains and Minarets




I still remember when me and D walked in My Home Rainbow on one sultry March evening, weighing the possibilities of us moving here. I was not happy with the fact that the apartment was on the sixth floor. But then, here was something about the apartment which we could not quite figure out. At that point of time, it was probably the commuting factor that had clinched the deal. My university and D's office were only twenty minutes away and I can safely forget about shelling out pots of cash for the autos.

The day we moved in, I made my first mug of tea and walked into the balcony. What I saw held my breath. On one side were the Jubilee Hills and of course all those cars on the road. And on the other were those Qutb Shahi tombs. Minarets against the skyscape reminding me of years of legacy that Hyderabad possesses.

Rainbow was fun unlimited. I fondly remember those punctuated occasions when D and I used to give a critical running commentary of the movie shootings that used to take place in Rainbow. Or surprise our neighbours with our blaring rock music and occasional hollering. Weekdays of work and fun and weekends of movies and eating out. It became our agenda to visit every restaurant in the city and try at least a starter if not the whole menu. That was our goal- to be achieved in ten months. But before we could do that, there came the clarion call to move on to the greener pastures of life.

As preparations are afoot for all the festivity that G-607 is gonna witness soon, those lazy movie sessions on the laptop and cooking sessions with D hollering from the kitchen whenever she chooses to experiment over the weekends have suddenly acquired the status of the sunniest days of my life. (of late I am not dreading these sessions because nowadays what D dumps on me to eat is quite edible ;-))

Our policy had been maximum utilisation of the resources, especially with reference to the elevator that had this weird tendency of becoming unoperational. Resources also included the track around the apartments which were used for evening walks. And as we went on walks, it was a standard policy for us to search for all the Honda City's, Civic's and Skoda's. D's dream of clicking a picture near the Honda Civic didn't however materialise. (She can safely forget about it as she is soon gonna have a chauffeur-driven BMW. Hehehehe!)

From mountains and minarets, we moved on to various things that we had come to love in this home. It was a place were D and I could just be ourselves. And more than that, it was, at the end of a hard day's work, a cozy home for us. We will miss you G-607, My Home Rainbow. Bye!

Friday, September 11, 2009

On my sorority life and reality.


With all my pretensions to being a queen, unqueenly is what you would call me on any average day. I'd like my clothes and accessories to be simple and comfortable,
since I have to run around for cabs, autos and of late, public transport. There is no way I can walk around on pencil tip heels (the roads of Hyderabad would not permit me to do that) nor dress in loud colours (by nature I prefer remaining discreet). So when N sent me a Sorority Life invite on Facebook, I dilly - dallied for sometime and then made the plunge.

Hell, I discovered I could make lots of money just by clicking on those buttons called 'organise events.' Great. Soon I had a bank account, and each time I deposited money, I wished it was for real. I could pass various levels and publish my success stories on my wall. (Friends were flummoxed for sometime.) Somebody would pop up on facebook chat and I would ask them to scoot, coz I was busy playing and putting money in bank and acquiring lots of glam. Heck - I wasn't even gonna wear most of those clothes in real life.

I was hooked. Every morning, I would exhaust all my accrued energy on the game and wait for it to replenish so that I could quickly move to next level. Soon, I got a car, two more and then there was no looking back. For someone who gazes at all the audis and mercs in hyd, this was some kind of vicarious satisfaction.

However, something was not altogether right. I discovered I was losing money and confidence. Further investigation showed that I was being attacked by people whom I didnt even know. Worse...I didnt know how to retaliate. I was informed that I was losing because of my limited house (the number of girls on your side and the glam that they have helps you fend off attacks from others.)

But I grew over it in time. What mattered was the money and glam I was acquiring. Soon with the passing levels, I could play some interesting games which now keep me occupied. Consequently my progress on sorority life has become slower. Now I am a Level 41 Diva and the last I checked, I had close to 5 million dollars in my bank account. Only catch is that all of it is not real.

That brings me to the whole point about this - why at all do we have an online life? Why are we more of netizens and less of citizens? Is it the fact that our online alter ego can be all that we are not in reality? Does it offer a medium which remotely approximates to real life? Is that why we dabble in it? Is that the logic behind our addiction to constantly updating our online status? Or is it just our gregarious nature?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bhandi Chai


For the uninitiated, bhandi chai is a heaven's blessing on those windy and tiring days. When you can make yourself comfortable and have those few sips of warm tea while the wind goes all about you. Just in case you may think otherwise, bhandi chai can also be had on normal days. Only that on those special days listed above, it tastes twice blest. A lot lot different from the usual mug of tea that has become my ritual every morning and evening. It is sold by those vendors who tend to congregate near bus stops. Along with the palli (ground nut) vendors, they make a killing combination. But lets forget about the palli vendors for the moment and focus on the chai walla.

You just walk up to him, ask for your cup of tea and pay something like one tenth of what you would pay in upmarket restaurants. Then, if it is the university, you can comfortably sit under the tree and take those refreshing sips. And of course, also look around at life in all its hues and colours.

The last time I had bhandi chai, I had to catch an eary morning bus. D's dad insisted on dropping me at the bus stop. The weather was nippy and it was gonna be a good ten minutes before my bus would arrive. 'How about a cup of tea?'he inquired. The cup in question is actually one of those small plastic ones. That was my first encounter with bhandi chai and I was concerned about the hygiene angle. But as those sips went in, I felt a warmth and an assurance that I will make this trip without being frozen to ice.

Today there was too much of information to analyse. I gave up, shut down the system and walked down to the university cafeteria. There was a lot of excitement going on about the student elections, and the policemen looking at everyone as a potential trouble maker. But hell,... who cares. I made myself comfortable with my cup of tea under a tree, savoured it thoroughly. And in the process, thanked the heavens above for those simple pleasure of life.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Not allowing me to express myself


The song which played while I wait fuming for the customer service head is that of airtel thanking the people of Andhra Pradesh for making it the best mobile service in the state. Fiddlesticks! Ask me and I will explain the irony.

I had taken a new post paid number of airtel. Idea had demanded that if I wanted to get my ideas across to people, I should hang precariously onto the balcony of my flat for my life and my limb. The Customer Care assured me that they were trying for a better network coverage which should be through in a few days. My wiser friends nodded darkly (they had missed neither the experience, nor the meaning) and said that they had been under the same delusion for more than a year now. So I decided to move to what were the apparently greener pastures of Airtel. If my experience with Idea had been that of dealing with deluded people, Airtel was worse. They justified as to why they were 'apparently' deluded.

It all started with that message which claimed that due to negative address verification, I was going to be disconnected.I had to contact the customer care immediately. What followed was worse that getting lost in Franz Kafka's castle. And the epilogue to the story is stranger.

CCE 1 - Madam, our servers are busy now. The status of your connection will be available only after half an hour.

After half an hour

CCE 2 - There seems to be some problem with your address verification. Please contact the address verification department.

The bloke was decent enough to give me a number which did not work. So I dutifully called Customer Service again.

CC3 - Why don't you try with a different SIM card? (assumption - I travel with different sim cards at a given point of time.. He was cheerful enough to attempt to help me though) Actually your address verification has turned out to be negative, though I don't know what it actually means.

Rude words from me and my call is escalated to the team lead.

Team lead - You have to pay an additional 500 rupees by the end of today since you dont live in a family accomodation.

Polite question from my side as to why this was not told to me before elicited the same response. Change of tactics - I ask by when do I have to pay. Response - ASAP. By now I am furious and start yelling. I had the right to yell coz it had already been declared to the dealer that I don't live with a family and the payment to that effect had been made and any lame learner of English can see that the phrase 'negative verification' patently means something different from paying extra money and airtel cannot hold gun to the forehead of its post paid customers like this. Moreover the writing on the wall was clear - this process means that within a week of your taking a post paid connection, you would get a message that would shake you out of your living daylights like this. I started threatening legal action. That is when the call was escalated to the Head of the Customer Service.

I will spare the details and his justifications, but I did threaten him of legal action since all my documents were in place. In his 'I am going out of my way for your sake' capacity, he assured me of direct access to him and requested me to make the payment by 8.00 pm that night to avoid being disconnected.

Then more out of malicious intent, I call the Customer Care again to find the status of my number

CCE 4 - (cheerfully) The number is working maam and there is no need to make any additional payment.


And to the end, the Customer Care Head (poor man,...I pity his wife who has to put up with this kind of talk everyday. Must be muttering the same sales talk in his sleep also) insisted that Airtel's procedures were the best in comparison to other services like Reliance and Idea, coz they give you the service but steal your data (god knows how this happens - whatever, this is definitely heterogeneous scenarios yoked together by violence) When I confronted him the next day, he was clueless as to how CCE 4 could give a different take on the situation and instead chose to escape into singing odes in the praise of the procedures of airtel.

Whatever, I have not made that payment till date. And my number continues to work.

Disclaimer - The above is a reconstruction of the conversation that I had with Airtel over a period of three hours (plus an hour the next day). Since it is based on conversations recollected in tranquility (after having established suitable distance between myself and the events) I cannot be legally held accountable for the remarks expressed anywhere in this post. :-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

From my Diary

I'm a nobody! Who are you?
Are you a nobody, too?
Then there's two of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

- Emily Dickinson

Wise guy - real and acquired meanings! ;-)

'Wise guy is actually supposed to refer to a person who is a 'know-it-all' and hence by default, a smart person who is trying to show off his knowledge. No wonder its usage is thereby restricted to the sarcastic contexts. So if we use it as a compliment, it may actually have the opposite effect. You may refer to your boss as a wise guy, when you are with fellow - sympathisers at a cafeteria, but definitely not to his face, expecting a raise.'

This was what I had written about wise guy on a different platform. And attracted this blitzkrieg from Uncle Scrooge.

'Call me an MCP if you wish, but I can't stand a girl who tries to encroach boldly into a decidedly male dominion! Now look at this post here - she has written a whole article about 'wise guy' but is clueless about that ONE movie that every guy would have heard of - Donnie Brasco. This is what happens when you are not clued in, when you are not part of the club, when you have a wrong chromosome.

Ma'am! You wanna write about 'wise-guy'? You go watch Donnie Brasco. Period. Otherwise "forget about it"!

A wise guy is a 'made man' in the mafia.

For the uninitiated outcasts of the wiseguydom, in other words for the females, here is a brief introduction to what a wise guy is - straight from the mouth of the ultimate WISEGUY - Al Pacino:

"A non-wiseguy never asks a wiseguy a question. A non-wiseguy don't even talk to a wiseguy unless the wiseguy talks to him first. Capeesh?"

"Wiseguy has a bag, you pick up the bag. Wiseguy runs a tab, you pick up the tab. Wiseguy is always right -- even if he's wrong he's right. All the way up the line. Connected guy to wiseguy to skipper to boss."

"Don't be carrying your money in a wallet no more. Wiseguy got his in a roll, like this. Beaner on the outside. "

"A wise guy never pays for his drink."

So no wonder that your 'clued-in' friend was indignant on being called a wise guy. But then you wouldn't know why, would you?

Hmph!'


I have since then watched the movie Donnie Brasco!

From my diary

The Nation
The heart is the capital of the mind,
The mind is a single state
heart and mind together make
A single continent.

One is population
Numerous enough.
This ecstatic nation
Seek - it is yourself.
- Emily Dickinson

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thank You for the Music

As I walked out of my apartment and into the lift, I checked my song list for any songs by Michael Jackson. I could find a lot of rock, few hip-hop and some retro. But only one Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. How I have moved on in my taste for music.

To develop a sense of music, do you need a strong foundation? The first time I heard Heal the World, I could hear Michael Jackson telling me, 'It is all in the melody girl!' And when I heard Thriller and the rest, I could see that there was a lot more to beat and rhythm than I had hitherto known.

Frankly speaking, for an initiate, I could not understand what Michael Jackson was saying in his songs. [But he is a shade better than those Linkin Park's and others whom I listen to nowadays] But then,... who cared. When I was working about the house, the beats of Smooth Criminal, Remember the Time, Blood on the Dance Floor [picture me with the mopping stick mopping the floor in tune with the beats of this song...sometimes Queens can do the weirdest things. It comes with the position :)] used to keep me focussed. On my evening walks, Gone too Soon, Liberian Girl and Heal the World kept me company with their haunting music. Of course, They Don't Really Care About Us was quite therapeutic in my run-in with the authorities once in a while. My My! How have I moved on since those early days of my initiation into music.

Most of all, Michael Jackson taught me to have a ear for beat, rhythm and melody, something that came in quite handy when I dabbled in playing a musical instrument. And he didn't stop there. He taught me how to appreciate music and enjoy it more. What Milton said of Shakespeare maybe quite true of Michael Jackson - he doesn't need a tomb in stone. His works become a standing testimony to his art - a vast sepulchre they will form - a sepulchre of songs that you keep returning to.

As I hear the news about his untimley demise, I do wonder whether there was more to come out of him. Perhaps what he said of Aaliyah maybe true for him - I can't help but feel that he has Gone too Soon.

Thank you for the Music, Michael Jackson!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chasing your dreams with a mug of coffee


The night had been different too. For a change, Hyderabad witnessed some much needed showers, and a consequent drop in temperature. Morning had only brought a reminder of the storm that had passed the previous day - both on the landscape and the inscape. Dreams had been buried.

I have my one favourite coffee mug - Archies - with the message, 'Attitude is everything'. I mixed the instant coffee and made it sure that the mug was filled to the brim.

And as I slowly made myself comfortable on the chairs and with my laptop, with occasional sips of the instant coffee, peace dawned. A peace that passeth all understanding. A peace that promised that the joy lies, not as much in achieving the dreams, as in chasing them. A peace that said that you have at least tried, instead of regretting for the rest of your life that you could have,...but you didn't. A peace that said that this too shall pass. A peace that told me, never...never to stop chasing my dreams. My day moves on, as the last night remains just another chapter in the book of life. There are fresh pastures to be explored,... and I move on, creating and chasing new dreams. My book needs to be written...and it is going to be a tale filled with happiness and joy. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Subway tales

One of the good things that has happened on the stretch of road from Mehdipatnam to Gachibowli is the number of restaurants that have opened shop, Subway, Dominoes, Wonton. Which means now I have decent choice for lunch and coffee.

A friend had said that she was going to be an hour late. And there was absolutely no motivation for me to hang around in the university. I remembered the Subway and headed there. Ordered a coffee and opened my books. I was the only one [as usual, wrong timing] and read through, making copious notes. My friend was nowhere in sight. Ordered another coffee. By now you guessed it right. I was just trying to kill time as there was no other decent place where I could sit and work. Checked my mobile for the time. Another 45 minutes to go. Helplessly I looked at the waiter. Silent communication. I did not particularly relish the thought of a third cup of coffee. The waiter smiled and said 'Maam, no issues. You can sit here as long as you want.' I flashed my best smile and continued with my work. And sort of felt a mild regret when my friend returned.

A week later

Waiting for my friend again. Headed straight to Subway again. Was greeted by a cheery 'Hello Maam. Welcome back! What would you like to have today?' I decided to experiment with iced tea. [It had been yet another hot day!] Sipped it slowly and sorta regretted again when my friend arrived.


Five days later


Sorta stuck with the work in the university and could not have my lunch. Headed for Subway and ordered for a sub. Needless to say, was again greeted by a smile and 'Hello Maam, What would you like to have today? A sub?' Obviously I was looking famished. Trusted the waiter's choice in choosing the best possible veg sub for me. I did not regret leaving the decision making to him. As I downed the chilled coke, felt the need to read and make notes. I dug into my bag, but could not find my elusive Parker. Requested a pen and got it. Sat for an hour peacefully and did my work.

Three days later

An SOS from a friend who needed some immediate help on a project. Subway was the meeting place. I asked my friend to come to Subway. Ordered for a couple of coffees and dug into my handbag for my elusive Parker. The waiter was watching me and knew what was coming next. By the time I reached the counter, he was ready for me.

Today

Honestly needed a coffee more than anything. Life has become quite difficult and complicated. Headed to the Subway for peace. As I settled down and opened my scribbling pad to make some notes, my Parker decided to become elusive again. By the time I made it to the counter, the waiter knew what I wanted. And both of us started laughing.

What I think about these Subway tales

I don't give a damn whether the waiters are paid to do all this or not. It's just that I feel happy at such simple acknowledgements, smiles, especially when they come from strangers, who suddenly seem to be sharing something with you, who try to make you feel at home. It makes the world feel....well... more connected and clued in. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Daddy Long Legs


My favourite book till date, the best amongst the many, is Daddy Long Legs. Time and again, I have wondered what is it in this simple epistolary novel that has captivated me so much. Is it the assurance that kindness still prevails in this sometimes cruel world? The idea of a developing romance, through letters, or the Jerusha Abbot's pursuit of knowledge and excellence? I have wondered often and guess that more often than not, it is precisely these questions that make me return to the book.

First of all, the idea that simplicity and conviction of thoughts still reign the roost. Probably I escape into a world of fantasy when I think about that. Next, the idea that letters can be such powerful tools of expression. That is some food for thought in the present age of 'twittering'.

To me, the whole point is knowing about a person so intrinsically without ever having met them. The letters that Jerusha writes to her unknown benefactor are chronicles of her life, a record of her thoughts, her successes and her losses and sometimes, indignance. But all punctuated by honesty of thought. Hence to me, the book is not just a tale. This may not happen in real life, but as long as the possibilities of parallels exist, why not?

Or probably it is just the idea of a preparing to write. Whatever. This is the one book that I would love to curl up with on a winter's day, on a rocking chair, with a hot cup of coffee in my hands. And travel with Jerusha as she moves on with her dreams of becoming a writer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Pickled Life!

What's a meal without a pickle. A welcome sign in any kitchen is those rows of bottles filled with reddish brown substance. [colours vary from red to brown depending on the constituents]

Come summer, it is the pickle season out here. Yesterday my aunt made fresh cauliflower pickle. Needless to say, anything that comes out of my aunt's hand is yummy. Remembrance of things past. My mind travelled to those days when another aunt of mine used to make mango pickle. It was more of a ritual, something that she did with reverence every summer. Let me tell how she did it

First of all, the pickle making day was announced in advance. The children were warned to wake up early in the morning and finish the morning rites, have their fill of food and disappear. Disappear here means going off to the groves, playing with the other village kids or watching movies on the rented VCR.

The kitchen was a separate block by itself. In the garden, aunt would have already pounded the red chillies [they only look red, they are not so spicy] and the other required ingredients. She would pound them into a fine powder. Then come out the cut mango pieces. Triangular pieces of raw mangoes. She would mix the pieces with the powder and oil by hand and store them in earthern jars....huge ones. Only after the kitchen was completely cleaned would the children be allowed.

The result - red mango pickle. Mix it with steaming hot rice and add a dash of ghee - you are on your way towards a lip-smacking treat. Of course, the treat used to be punctuated by stentorian warnings that we should not eat too much, otherwise our stomachs would start behaving unpredictably. But...who cared.

Today, very few people have the space and time to make pickles in such large quantities. My aunt in Hyderabad makes pickle using a mixer. It's good. But nowhere does it approximate to the taste of those pickles in earthen jars. But at least my aunt is making.

As I walk down the supermarket aisle, I see the numerous bottles of pickles of all kinds and constituents. They remind me of those earthen jars, red mango pickle made by my aunt. I sigh, and move on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Shouting in the Silence?

'Long time ma'am, since you last came here,' remarked the waiter. I was at Java Green in Punjagutta, and it had been a month since my last visit. He knew what I wanted as I settled down with my book. Out of the corner of my eye, my eyes registered something out of the usual. I could see hands flinging about. Words that were supposed to be heard but not heard. Right in the middle of the outlet, a group of five people around a table were engaged in an animated conversation. They were almost shouting, but silently!

I was amazed. So much of communication and so noiselessly. The waiter, obviously wanting to share his observations on them, felt a kinship with me and moved over. 'Just imagine the noise levels ma'am if five people had actually been engaging in this kind of a verbal discussion.' The five people were communicating in sign language.

I was interested. Who were these people? They were of a mixed age group and were of a professional disposition. Most importantly, they were starkly set off against the motley crowd by their willingness to connect and communicate. Fascinated, I asked the waiter. 'Do they come here everyday? Who are they?'

'They are employees of the Andhra Bank above. Everyday they don't take their break at the usual time and instead in the evening settle down here for a long discussion. I have been seeing them for the past eight months and everyday, watching them has been quite fascinating. If there is no place inside, they place an order and make themselves comfortable outside on the pavement. But the pattern has remained the same for the past eight months. The five get together at the same time in the evening and god knows what they talk, but they talk.'

I looked at the animated speakers again and was struck, by their willingness to connect to each other. Even at the expense of 'shouting' in silence. How many of us are willing to take time for that?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Micheangelo's Christ Part 2 - an unusual kinship

I feel a sort of kinship with Michelangelo's Christ. He is in the same boat as me. He is torn by the same questions that trouble me at regular intervals.

I wonder whether God is this entity who plays with us like [to put it in the words of the bard,] wanton flies. And that makes me angry. But then, when I sober down, it becomes a game again. Where do the doubts go? God knows. Probably an expectation of mine has been fulfilled? That is why most of the times I am on a swing between doubt and faith. Between questioning and accepting. Between whimpering and jumping. ;)

In a way, most of the doubts are linked to some kind of expectations I guess. For example, having tread on the path ordained by God, the least that Christ could have expected is a miracle. But apparently God did not turn out to be the perfect gentleman who honours his word. 'Ask and ye shall be given.' Somehow this guarantee did not apply to this situation.

But then, Christ was a tough guy from within. He could digest this.We know by now that he was torn more by conflict and the test of faith rather than any real expectation of the the skies opening up and a booming voice delivering him from his trials.

The question is why at all should we undergo this litmus test of faith?

Let me try and change the interested parties here. Party 1 - Me and Party 2 - God. Is it really necessary for me to try and tie my faith to something amorphous called 'expectation' and test God on the basis of that? Then doesn't the interaction boil down to a business transaction?

No wonder my 'crises' becomes 'crucifixons.'The only difference between Christ and me is that he got it right at the first shot and since then, has been heard of in the context of a faith that guides many people in the world. Whereas, I am still to 'get there' and see things for themselves 'from the vantage point.'

So everytime I read this extract and visualise the image of Christ on the cross, torn by conflict and doubt, I tell him - "Hang on buddy, I'm on my way."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Michelangelo's Christ - Part 1

I had recorded the following extract from The Agony and the Ecstasy in my diary when I had been a student. Now, it moves to my blog.It captures the moment when Michelangelo was in the thought mode about the statue of Jesus Christ that he had been commissioned to make -

Michelangelo did not feel within himself any of the things that Donatello felt. He had never been altogether clear in his own mind why God could not accomplish by Himself all the things He sent His son down on earth to do. Why did God need a son? The exquisitely balanced Donatello Christ said to him: 'This is how God wanted it to be, exactly the way it was planned. It is not hard to accept one's fate when it had been preordained. I have anticipated this pain.'

Michelangelo thought - 'What went through the mind of Christ between the sunset hour when the Roman soldier drove the first nail through his flesh, and the hour when he died? For these thoughts would determine not only how he accepted his fate, but also the position of his body on the cross. Donatello's Christ accepted in serenity, and thought nothing. Brunelleschi's Christ was so ethereal that he died at the first touch of the nail and had no time to think'

He returned to his workbench, began exploring his mind with charcoal and ink. On Christ's face appeared the expression, 'I am in agony, not from the iron nails but from the rust of doubt.' He could not bring himself to convey Christ's divinity by anything so obvious as a halo; it had to be portrayed through an inner force, strong enough to conquer his misgivings at this hour of severest trial.'

It was inevitable that his Christ would be closer to man than to God. He did not know that he was to be crucified. He neither wanted it nor liked it. And as a result, his body was twisted in conflict, torn like all men, by inner questioning.