“A flag bearer … without borders” – farewell to Neil Armstrong

Credit : AP/file                                        Neil Armstrong

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

— “High Flight” – Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF

Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who died Saturday at 82, was a reluctant American icon who often described himself as a  “nerdy engineer”.  I am sure he would have hated every other tribute which will be given in his honor, as people knew him would often recall him complaining. Countless number of high schoolers/teenagers/students across the globe who would give away there lunch money to buy his stamp cards, post cards or wall papers with Neil Armstrong on them, were literally thrown into believing something which no one had given them hope for – reaching the far and beyond.

                                                   Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

My uncle who was born on Monday 21st July, 1969, the day Apollo 11 astronauts at 02:39 UTC  opened the hatch, and  began their descent to the lunar surface. He often tells me the stories about the experience of witnessing the first lunar landing and the mystic excitement surrounding the news in India. That day was a moment of calmness in turbulent decade of this beleaguered country at the backdrop of civil rights movement and a strangling war in Vietnam.

 His family letter includes,” While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.” Further including this –                 “For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil  and give him a wink.

As Dr.Tyson (another hero of mine who is a champion of promoting the idea and necessity space exploration) mentioned in his eulogy, “Neil Armstrong was the spiritual repository of spacefaring dreams & ambitions. In death, a little bit of us all dies with him“.  and also “Possibly the only positive event in the history for which everybody remember where they were when it occurred.”

Whenever my friend asks me,” Why? what happened ? Is it that special ? “, he already knows what I am habituated to say, ” It’s an Armstrong special ! “. Everyone who heard about him have anecdotes to tell, short stories to blabber about the special event that he was part of. His name has became an enormously special adjective for many.

He was someone who will be always remembered as long as there is a history to be written – a history of glorious achievements – achievements beyond limitations for the Hero beyond borders !

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta …

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta
Kahin zameen nahi to kahin aasman nahi milta

Bujha Saka Hain Bhala Kaun Waqt Ke Shole
Ye Aisi Aag Hain Jisme Dhuan Nahin Milta

Tere intezaar mein aesa nahi ki lutf na ho
Intezar karen hum aesa lamha nahi milta

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta

Tere jahan mein aesa nahi ki pyar na ho
Jahan umeed ho uski, wahan nahi milta

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta
Kahin zameen nahi to kahin aasman nahi milta

Jise Bhi Dekhiye Vo Apne Aap Mein Gum Hain
Zubah Mili Hain Magar Humzubah Nahin Milta

Teri duniya mein aesa nahi ki hazaar raste na ho
Jo rasta manzil ko le jaye wo nahi milta

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta

Khuli ankhon se sapne dekhne ka jurm na ho
Har baar wo jurm ho to uski saza se panah nahi milti

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta

Ab tanhai mein na chal pane ka khauf na ho
Jab zindagi ko tanhai ka saath mile to kisi aur ka saath nahi milta

Kabhi kisiko mukkamal jahan nahi milta
Kahin zameen nahi to kahin aasman nahi milta

— Nida Fazli

Quote of the Day – George Santayana

“All of our sorrow is real, but the atoms of which we are made are indifferent.” — George Santayana (1863-1952)


Source : An interview with Dr. Leon N Cooper

 

 

Panoramic Awesomeness – Curiosity and Mars !!

It is ‘something’ to grasp with your visual senses  …………..

Mars Panorama – Curiosity Rover – here and here !

Credit : 360Cities – Panoramic Photography Blog

 

Galaxies in collision

 

Above picture taken by the Hubble telescope shows the wreckage, famously known as   The Antennae. (Collision of NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 – both are spiral galaxies)

Image Credit : Hubble Legacy Archive

 

 

Movie review — “Gangs of वासेपूर ” / Gangs of Wasseypur

” Faizal Khan “, ” Perpendicular ” aur “Definite” tayyar hai (Perpendicular ” aur “Definite” are ready) and listening to —  Aur sab ki baja rahe hai, Electric piya, O Womaniya Live, “Loonga Loonga”   ….. Faizal ki gang tumhari lega!

These are some of the flat-out-crazy phrases you will bound to hear and ringing in your ears after watching this concoction of dark, gritty, witty, cute action comedy !  Its a very own factory product of a breakout director from India – Anurag Kashyap.

                         Gangs of Wasseypur Poster

This thrilling ride of vengeance and deep family feuds which received a standing ovation at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight 2012  seems to have matched the pace and excitement  for the cross over audience of western theaters …..  There is hardly any other movie of this kind which can boast a wide spread audience like Gangs of वासेपूर !  Satya, Black Friday, Dev D, Gulaal  – Anurag crowns a gamut of films to his credit that few directors in hindi film industry have.

                                         Gangs of Wasseypur II -Poster

His style of film making reminds me of Grindhouse productions of Tarantino – Rodriguez ! If you have seen Planet Terror( Death proof ), Desparado, The faculty, Jackie Brown kinda movies, you know what I mean. For a typical cinema audience in India, it seems , this has been a difficult to digest movie. With such uncanny resemblance of the characters to the real life personalities of the type ” Guns speak where abusive language/vernacular fails” , it does manage to capture your 320 minutes of movie appetite ! Well, one would certainly imagine that people will pay to watch it in a slingshot of a sitting rather than the planned two part series of the same script. Seems to me, audience back home really doesn’t really get to have a say in this, it is all decided by the agents and distributors who have little or no knowledge and interest about the Indian way of making motion pictures …… let alone the expectations from a typical gig ….

Gangs of वासेपूर  is not only a paisa vasool movie ( worth every penny) but comes as a package with the midas touch of class to the background score. Decorated with a racy, hummable and distinct sound of female singers, songs portrait the north indian style of rowdy often sexually suggestive poems and folk verses, rather flawlessly ……


 

and here is the Gangs of वासेपूर : part II trailer :

 

 

A generally very outspoken Anurag kashyap has managed to produce a honest and fearless depiction of British seized farm lands of Dhanbad ( town somewhere in North India).  All in all 4 out of 5 stars to the movie ! Penalty for making me wait for the sequel ….

Note : No other movie looked better to start writing movie reviews  …….

 

 

The corridors of democracy and power …..

                                                    India at night

A week before India celebrates its 66th independence day with much pride and enthusiasm, I want to reflect on some of the events happened in the recent past that shaped my views about this region which is often referred as a largest active democracy in the world and the cradle of civilization …..

                                                        Mohenjodaro – Sindh

The history of human civilization, particularly Indian subcontinent, is quite the only factor which binds the whole group of nations in this area into a single article. Otherwise, the difference in culture, ideology, politics,sports etc everything looks quite simply diverse and many a times perplexing to even ask a question, ‘why’ ? But my concern is more of a recent when it comes to addressing it. I cant understand why this region has been the center of many historic battles, all along the history without really giving us the very end of the story, yet.

George Carlin

I am not really an ardent patriotic myself !  I think I am just grateful for the kind of family, friends and society I was allowed to thrive in  … But to vent out some air, someone  like George Carlin often gives you wings when you don’t know how to express yourself precisely with some hint of anger, dash of sarcasm and teeming with nothing but the truth …. yet manages to offend just the right amount of people and he would succeed if you en”  I’m fully Irish, and when I was a kid I would go to the St Patrick’s Day parade and they sold a button that said “Proud to be Irish”, but I knew that on Columbus day they sold the same button only it said “Proud to be Italian”, then came Black Pride, and Puerto Rican Pride. And I could never understand national or ethnic pride, because to me Pride should be reserved for something you achieve on your own. Being Irish isn’t a skill, it’s a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn’t be proud to be 5’11”. You wouldn’t be proud to have a pre-disposition for colon cancer. ”  – Carlin 

My criticism of Indians and whole state of affairs maybe half baked. I think too much patriotism, actually false perception of it atleast ( Well, it’s about time literary experts accept the word ‘at least’ as ‘atleast’ but anyway) , maybe the cause of the most conflicts around the world, India maybe the exception. The problem here actually is the absence of social justice and patriotism. I guess, its just a feeling, one person may never get his/her absolute form of justice without ruining some sense of freedom of the another individual. All said and done, but the question remains ….

Be it a India against corruption campaign which gathered quite a bit of heat last year (refer  Top 10 abuses of power by Time ) or a feud over electoral reforms, the ground reality is that there is a little progress to show and a big chink of problems to solve with many new ones ready to line up on the board shortly…. Well, on paper it is better than the Kim Jong Il’s Concubines, but no less damaging !

Mountbattens with M. Gandhi

65 years since Louis Mountbatten, handed the British ruled India to the Indian National congress, but the pestering problems of border with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh are quite fresh and fuming ….

How many ignorant Indian souls are still adamant about this problem is quite surprising. Some of them want it to be solved, some actually don’t, some are happy the way things are going. There was a think tank who used to believe that the solution to these border disputes is matter of political will and could be solved in a regime of a government or two. Things are looking more and more murkier since the Kargil War in 1999.

“Indian diplomacy is like the love-making of an elephant: it is conducted at a very high level, accompanied by much bellowing, and the results are not known for two years.”

 – Shashi Tharoor 

A war is a symbolic outcry in many ways. Star trek fanatics know it well how the crew finds that although the war is fought via computer simulation, the citizens of each planet have to submit to real executions inside “disintegration booths”  based on the results of simulated attacks. But in practicality, War is just a solution among many to settle a dispute. To settle it permanently or temporarily is a matter of discussion. But, all wars that India has fought since independence haven’t been fruitful in a long run. The diplomacy is also an another gun in a holster. But, has it delivered the desired stability and peace in the subcontinent ? and more importantly in India ? The amount of money spent on arms and ammunitions is mountainous in comparison to the total GDP of the nation. A huge percentage of budget has to be spend on the internal security and as well as external  affairs which are indirect and direct consequence of these border issues with neighbours. The threat from cross border terrorism still exists, Sino-India border creates many skirmishes from time to time, Bangladeshi refugees’ problem in Eastern India is growing like a gangrene ! These problems along with some internal security threats are the stumbling blocks of growing Indian economy. People often argue about the increase in apathy among working class in India. I don’t blame them. If you have these many problems hanging above your head since decades have past and are showing no signs of rubbing them off from slate, you are better off without confronting them.

Poverty ? Ahh, just follow the liberalization of the economy, observe that many nations have pulled out millions of people out of poverty in last century. Greed and corruption ? Just fix your educational system. Children know better how to solve a sub-prime mortgage problem than these “Wall street adults” !  Population problem ? rubbish ! It can quite convincingly be solved with some basics like reforming Land acquisition bills + environment friendly homes + educational reforms ( get your literacy rate high and done ! )

                                Credit: NASA  –  India- Pakistan Border

To change  ourselves from within maybe possible but to change an ideology of others is  different …. Though India shares a border with these nations which are quite different from one another, all of them share something more substantial  –  unstable nature of the fabric of Social, political and economic structure. China maybe an exception, But give it a few years and growing seeds of democracy will show whether the one party politics is really a democracy in action or democracy  inaction. All these problems must be dealt differently,cant really work out a single diplomatic solution to this .. no one ever has .. yet! There is really nothing like having a good neighbor ! After being in North American continent, and watching it closely even for few years, one cannot really help but compare and suggest some things to course correct. I am quite tempted to dream about the day when I can say the same about the Indian subcontinent !

A mute spectator ( Is it a good handle to write with ?  not sure ! )

 

 

……. worth a thousand words

Courtesy : Dark tower, John Kovalic