Wednesday, April 24, 2013

more ramblings.

I am an introvert or rather I see introverted passion clinging onto me in various places.

First thing I felt to do when I realized this was to explore more as any introvert would do.

That is when I discovered labyrinths and mazes. Patterns, tips and tricks that normal people would have died to know and use. But as a new introvert I felt I had great power in my hand. But soon realized that introversion is such a phenomenon that it is designed to stop the use of such power. Quite like the old stories where great powers are hidden in such ways that they can' be used by evil.

But I really wanted to get back to the normal world and tell them what you can do by introversion. Many of my attempts turned futile as I realized how blind the extroverted world was. The respect for introversion increased manifold after such events. And soon, like an other introvert I shelved those passions, and tried to get on with 'normal' life.

I would like to borrow a quote from a Mamootty movie "The Truth"- 'Sathyathine ethu garthathil kondu moodi vechalum athu orikkal purathu varum.It is a cosmic law'(No matter which pit you bury the truth, it would come out one day.)

UPDATE: Owing to the last line, I am allowing this stupid article to be published.

Whats wrong..

This topic has been running around my mind for some time now, so just thought of posting it. I have never been good in essay writing or any such literary matters as a matter of fact. But I always have points,and this is gonna be disorganized..but I do hope to reduce its effects.On to the field now..

I have been thinking about America and its influence on the world economy,politics,science and most importantly on the minds of each and every individual of the so called third world. What gives it the image of Mr.Invincible, even though a peek into its history would reveal lots of flaws and even now there are lots of deep flaws in its systems(ok residents of glass houses shouldn't pelt stones at others).

What gives them the infinite power to get things done,to move on in any field,unlike in our country where every project comes to a standstill days within making a decision? Ok, these questions lead to thousands of reasons and points of accusations and discussions.But I want to examine a few points that arrived at via some particular route. Let me unfold those as clearly and coherently as possible..

My thoughts emanated from a brief overview of what each major country was renowned for(1900 onwards). It was in this stream of thoughts that I came upon this block and strange connection of America to India. As most of you know, the Germans were known for their machinery and perfectionism, the Brits for naval supremacy and economy, America for the oil and many other rare materials found only in that continent..etc etc. In addition to these, all the countries were colonial in nature, having colonies at far fetched places, earning them military power and revenue. In a single peek, we can say the World War weakened every colonial country and practically brought colonialism to its end,but not USA. It started becoming a major player in world politics from then.

India, being a colony at that time, didn't have enough strength to free itself become a global player. But,I feel that India, with all that we had then could have made a huge uprising and routed out all weakened colonial fools and changed the course of the world. Though there are many logical and valid reasons that prevented such a course of action, lets examine closely. This is where I make my point..and its significance is at the peak in current times. Lack of unity, fueled by regionalism,communalism and petty issues is what had originally led to the colonization of India..and is still the issues plaguing our progress and allowing the USA to retain the spot we could have had.

Consider the rich and developed nations of the world, all except USA and India have fairly homogeneous population in terms of race,colour,caste,religion,language and culture. A few exceptions do exist,but the magnitude of variety is highest in India, followed by the USA. USA, being a fairly new country, and home to immigrants draws its strength in all fields from its multicultural population. On the other hand, the same variety is what hampers all kind of progress in our country.Why is that?

I would say, our sense of nationality and attachment to our different cultural,lingual, regional and communal identities all together make us such dumb fools, incapable of thinking and acting straight. In my point of view, the Americans don't have much of a sense of unity, but then don't have any objection to the presence and progress of others. They seem to be just motivated by the profit motive.
Lately, that has been proved wrong as America is slipping in power and respect. How many Americans care if something happens in their neighbouring state?

EDIT:The above text was typed up in 2009 June and kept in draft as I was sure it was a biased and half correct view of things. But I am publishing it nonetheless as I neither intend to keep it in my dry dock nor just delete such a valid set of ideas.
Off late I hate the vested interest groups that run the things in USA and India as well. And such agencies are working all over the world, spewing out lies to the people who end up just gobbling up those, without getting to taste the nectar of truth(though truth is much more harsher than the lies in most cases).

Anyway I am not qualified in any sense to make authoritative claims regarding policies and operations of Governments, societies and cultures. I am just another speck in the desert. Adios amigos..

Sunday, April 07, 2013

a silent strongman speaks out

this post is purely for the martial minded, highly energetic readers who don't mind subjecting themselves to some pain and don't find such indulgences sadistic.. just challenging.

its been in the dry docks for many hours together. hence ended up quite big. if readers get bored, head on to the last for some juicy philosophy instead :P

i wonder if people out there know these things or not. anyway i share what i know..

you ever tried punching walls? if so, have you reached a point where pain doesn't appear until a good amount of blows? and mind it, punch on the columns of the wall for your good and for the good of the building you are in(telling this based on some bad experiences).

well, you might observe that during and after these exercises your knuckles would get bigger and pointier. this is because the bone fractures inside on impact and then reforms as bigger formations with tighter connections. this makes your bones much stronger than their original form and often allows you to surpass the normal resistance levels obtained by natural properties. I have very pointy and tough knuckles, especially on the middle fingers.

a down side of these hard hands is that, it would become next to impossible to take innocent jabs at your friend's fat tummy without making them cry with serious pain. its really true what spiderman said about power. :( restraint and patience. you need to bring them along when imbibing such strength into yourself.

anyways, that part is always there for us strong men of the world to handle. lets get on with our stuff..

i don't know how many of us natural strong men go to gyms to maintain and condition the body. atleast those stuck in the lazy IT industry which involves almost no action should be continuously upto something to live our 'natural' lives. but I don't fancy gyms. i kinda feel bad being in there. maybe i didnt find the right reason or trainer yet. well, I haven't even tried to :) thats the least my ego can do for me :D

but its very necessary to not lose the various strengths of our bodies. it is not just about being presentable.  its about being comfortable, being full of our energies and upto the task when the time comes. and each one of us has a reason to stay strong. lets remember them as they are the flames of our passion for strength.

another key strength point is the forearm. it helps in our day-to-day tasks. strong hands help in umpteen ways. also the arms are part of the body that is mostly visible to others and people form impressions based on appearance of the upper body. but leaving the appearance part, a fully functional and powerful upper body is key to any practitioner. from power abs to help you balance weights and lift yourself ,to strong fingers for tight grips, each part along the upper body plays an important part.

sometimes you can't tap the complete potential of one part without developing another. to know of such key points and train accordingly is where you need expert support of trainer and equipments. but these need not come from traditional gym environment either. as I have been always looking for alternatives to a gym, I know quite a few stuff to train myself with ,without too much advice and equipments. thanks to the internet and random things all around us :)

there are lots of simple things you can do if you are lazy as I am. stretch a lot whenever you feel like. you should get back to your comfortable level after these stretches. they help relieving pain and stiffness caused by prolonged sitting, laying down etc, which is natural in our sedentary lifestyle. a series of air punches can return the life into your system anytime. punch walls if you have a chance, because they do more for you :D

frequently clench and unclench your fists to strengthen the wrists. check if you are automatically clenching and unclenching your jaws as well. this, as far as I know is a sign of aggression. if you observe such a relation, practice slow clenching of fists to get rid of the connection and after sometime you will yourself being calm even when you clench your fists. also when you get angry you would no longer clench your fists, the way normal people do. that way you suppress one obvious gesture that gives away your intentions. very useful during street arguments :) you obviously need every advantage possible to have.

and for the biceps, triceps and shoulders, all must be knowing the pushups and many such well known exercises out there. i love mixing them with some extra moves to make em difficult so that instead of repeating them, i end up exerting same effort by doing just a few. talk about laziness being the mother of innovation. but right now, I am not sure if repeating simple exercises is better than doing a few complex ones.

my understanding of the body, its functions and its limitations come from the Ayurveda and the Eastern martial arts areas. The modern workout practices, as with most things modern focus on exterior and individual aspects, without considering a holistic view. A select few trainers understand the body well, and they lavishly mix concepts from East and West to customize workouts as per individual person's body and character. I wish some such trainer would come by and make me a superhero martial artist.. sigh..

the various forms of Kung Fu use the knowledge of the body to train the various parts rigorously. Although the various styles differ in many aspects and you have to find the right style to suit your body and personality type, they all involve lot of common work outs. The same goes for Yoga, which has umpteen variations. Even all the well known and not-so-well-known martial arts and healing practices stem from the basic concepts. Knowing one allows you to tap into the larger cauldron eventually. I am sure not many are aware of such variations. Yoga is not just about stretching,bending and breathing on yoga mats with meditation. Kungfu is not just about flying,kicking and fast moves that take the breath away. There are lesser known forms of the two where the roles are reversed.

I realize this is such a vast topic and stuff keeps coming out of my head continuously. Alright, moving on..

Abs. Now there isn't a single part of the body more closely scrutinized and lauded than this in terms of fitness. Six packs and eight packs are the definitions for fitness nowadays. Nothing less matters. I say that is a bag of dogshit. Pardon my language, but such narrow views only damage the ability and motivation for many of us to remain healthy. Please don't follow wealthy celebs in building bodies. They get paid and their entire lives depends on their looks and appearances. Lets not get our heads too high. If you already have good abs, then its good for you. Focus on other aspects of health too :)

If your abs allow you to balance your upper body against the lower and perform movements and stuff you love to, you have done enough to strengthen it. Let another layer of fat remain on top of it, if you like. Don't you sacrifice your favourite dish for that. :-)

To strengthen it, do only the crunches of various kinds. Anything that places load and pressure on the abs point also helps. Its fun to exercise your abs. I am testament to the fact that you can have rock hard abs under layers of fat tummy :)

Next comes my focal point, the lower body. Starting with the strong thigh,stable knees,big calf muscles and flexible ankles plus rigid foot. Its a killer combination! Legs are everything. They propel, they balance, they give you poise, they help you climb over anything, kick open stuff, break things and what not!
A mountaineer lives and dies by the strength of his toes,calves and every single part of his legs. A wrong twitch can end everything for him/her. A footballer, a cyclist, a martial artist, a dancer, and what not. Everything we do involves our legs. Losing it, thereby is the largest blow that can be given to someone. Pray no one gets such a punishment.

As a mountaineer,hiker,cyclist and a martial artist, I too love my legs. Among the parts of my body, I have always been partial to my legs. Hence they are still strong after years of relative inactivity. Recent cycling adventures helped regain the lost endurance. But they need to be regularly used and kept well oiled like rifles for perfect action.

Weak points are the knees and the ankles. They get bent,sprained, broken or swollen easily with impact. Such injuries can render you useless and prone to mortal danger. Hence always take good care of your feet. Run, exercise, lift weights on your feet, stretch, kick, do whatever you want to keep them in good 'running' condition.

Stances which involve balancing your body weight on individual legs, the knees or the ankles and toes are some basic stuff which can significantly increase their reliability on the field. And you don't need special time or equipments for any of these. That is another reason why I fancy leg training. Even sitting in the traditional Indian way is very good for the legs.

You can walk on your toes occasionally for fun and training the tendons.
Run occasionally. Jog. Hang by your legs.
Take longer strides than usual while walking. Walk fast. Walk really slow.
Hop over tiles, jump over obstacles instead of climbing over.
Kick things at different heights, kick backwards, kick sidewards.
Bend you leg backwards, lying down and with your arms bring them over your shoulders.
Bend your legs and touch your shoulders with your knees.
Jump up so that you can hit your palms kept at face level with our knees.
Do splits.
Jump over low walls.
Sit on slightly tall tools by springing onto it than climbing.
Cycle. Climb rocks. Climb really tall peaks.
Climb a vertical wall use bare hands and foot..
Raise your right leg 90 deg to right and hold it for long.
Raise it forward and hold it longer.
and many many more :-)

phew. been writing this from morning! i think i had enough, and I assume that you too have. if you have read till here with interest, then contact me. We can train together :)

nowadays people don't respect strength. they only end up fearing strength. i hate the kind of strength that can only inspire fear and no respect. such a strength is caused not by pure strength, but when weakness causes you to use your only strength and impose your will upon people with lesser strength. I can only see the pure strength in select few, and the number of such people are dwindling. I think the older generation had more understanding of such a strength. I find such references in lots of characters and stories from various books etc.  and idolize them.

To be a real strong man, you don't just have to have large muscles and lots of physical strength. Even with a little less of it, what you need most is a large heart to accommodate people with all their imperfections and hateful views. A strong man should be able to take it all in and give out good vibes. He/she should be the filter that cleans things around them. It takes time to become one and the path is full of struggle, pain and isolation. I am on the way I believe and I have seen many others too. Believe we will meet up sometime :-)

PS: Here, by using the word 'strong man' , I don't intend to isolate women from this role. In fact strong women are more common than strong men.

Refer to this article from Lifehacker for some very useful follow-up information from a more credible source about things I have spoken about here  :-)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

rain it must..

I want it to rain, and rain heavily it must.

My path back home should not be through pothole-filled roads where people fight with their egos and tension to move one inch ahead of the others.

I need a road that goes through open terrain where few walk with umbrellas, a few stand aside waiting of the rain to be over, many sit calmly in their seats in buses hoping that by the time they get off the bus, the rain would stop. I would love to see some crazy romantics on the road getting all drenched and energetically dancing all the way.

On that road, I wish to ride my cycle fast, without worry of laptop,wallet or phone. And no helmets either.

I rush home to get dried and reprimanded. And my home should be on the ground floor, with at least a small spot of green nearby for the rain drops to splash into, and for the frogs to showcase their skills. I wish to sit there, hearing the music of rain, feeling the tingling cold being relieved by the hot tea.

Slumber comes easily and unlike real slumber, here I wake up to the reality of what is real and what is not.

The time for summer heat and the vanquishing of it by the occasional rains is here. More tightly contested and enthusiastically discussed is this topic than any competition of politics or sports.

I love the homes in Kochi and Mysore where I received ample amounts of rain straight into my room, unlike the dusty,large,inhuman apartment in the dirt filled city. :-)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

silvery waves

It was close to 10.30 at night. We were in the middle of our Goa trip. In the summer, the nights are active and days are for slumber. Plans were been made for dinner, as one by one everyone was returning from the beach hangout.

I saw the gap and nicked the Royal Enfield Bullet's key. Oh, the bike was none of ours. It was taken on rent, and we had quite a big fight during the day on who gets to ride it. The poor guy who has ordered a bullet was ultimately given the advantage of sympathy. In a moment of his weakness, the key was in my hand. I had a window of about one hour, but the fuel was dangerously low.

I had to take it out of the north part of Goa and onto the petrol pump in Panaji road, a good 10 minutes away. And I came back as my mind was set on a target in the opposite side. I had stumbled upon this gem of a beach after lunch, like all treasure finders do. All I remember was some landmarks, without any clear idea of location or distance. But thanks to the straight roads, and simple directions, I was soon thumping on my bullet, learning to control the behemoth at full throttle.

Weaving around the crazy drunken crowd on the road, I managed to reach my destination without much delay- Sinquerim Beach. I don't recall too many features of it, except what I engraved in my mind. A long wall of the fort encircling the Taj Vivanta on the seaside, and a major bastion jutting out into the sea. The beautiful beach on the right side was always peaceful and serene, even with the evening crowd. Now, at this time of the night, there wasn't a soul in sight.

I rode my bike in and parked it with a satisfied smile. I had another 20 minutes in my hands, and no one knew where I was. So I quickly informed one of the guys about my whereabouts and came to know the guys were being mustered to leave. It was still in 'mustering' stage. So I knew I had more time than expected. But I had to get to business.

There was an eerie silence near the fort. But I could clearly hear the distant roar of the waves as they hit upon the strong bastion and broke apart. The waves were stronger than they were in the day time. The full moon was up and cast long shadows along the bastion walls and through windows slits. As I walked closer, I realized the full beauty of what lay ahead.

I immediately regretted not having had more time and not having come here ever before in my life. Unlike the other beaches where the same moon shone and the same sea roared in, this beach somehow had more life and more solitude. The other beaches looked crowded even at midnight, with all the abandoned sand beds,umbrellas,tents and boats stacked up near a long line of shacks closed for the night.

I had this uncomfortable feeling in the bottom of my heart until then. This was my first time in Goa, and on a bullet, and here I was, 10kms from all my friends, without their knowledge, at midnight, all by myself wandering near a completely empty beach. One wrong step on the bastions would land me into the hard rocks below and my body won't be found until the day after and identification might take even longer. Goa isn't exactly crime free either. I was fully aware of these implications while I continued strolling up the bastion walls and climbing the rocks in the dark. Staring into the roaring waves underneath only caused more fear. The sea had climbed much more inwards than I recalled.

It was like a beautiful seductress pulling me to her like a magnet. I didn't stop until I was right on top of the bastion and then I cleared my head and came down to a safer position, realizing that I could very well fall over in case sleep or absent mindedness took over. It was then I realized that I wasn't completely alone there. It gave me the creeps when my ears registered the scuffled sounds around me.

I think I turned quite fast to see who was there, and it startled the person standing next to me. He was a burly man with a long rod in his hands. We exchanged stares for sometime before I realized he wasn't dangerous and the rod in his hands was for fishing. I chuckled at the thought of fishing in such a violent beach location. I wondered which fish would be swimming in those violent waves that were bombarding the bastion. He too would have wondered what this lone guy would be doing at that time of the night in that location, that too without either a girl,a bottle or a fishing rod. I imagine he would have eyed me more suspiciously than I did him. Suicide cases aren't so strange in those parts.

I identified a couple of his friends perched in the shadowy corners of the bastion trying their lucks with the rods, as I walked around the round shaped bastion to get to the side of the beach. I sat on the walls and tried to take in the view. It was overwhelmingly soothing while being highly thrilling. There was so much to do, so much to take in. I felt like an empty container which could take in the entire sea. I restrained myself and just sank into the hypnotic undulating ocean of silver.

The moonlit sky was somewhere joining the ocean of silvery waves and from there the glittering waves came crashing one after the other on the boulders at the foot of the bastion, or on its strong walls, or simply wash over the beach making new wet shapes before going back, all spent. I must have sat there for a full half an hour, before I realized I should get moving or be left behind. As I was getting up to move, I almost froze and lost my balance, swaying half way over the boulders 10 feet below. There were two white shapes barely moving in the window slit directly below me. It took me a few seconds to register that a couple was seated right below where I was , and were involved in deep yet silent conversation. Their reaction too was of momentary shock. I decided it was time to walk away, and walk away I did, physically from the location, but my heart and mind still stays there.

Sinquerim Beach- as seen and photographed in daytime
For, every night after that I get pangs to walk out, ride out or simply peek out at the moonlit skies. Maybe it's the heat of the summer which is keeping me awake every night past midnight, or maybe its something more. I know not of what happened that day, but I do know that the world doesn't seem to be the way I knew of it any more.