Monday, January 25, 2010


देखा था उसको बचपन में , पाठशाला के आँगन में
वो भैया के संग आती थी , छुप छुप  के मिटटी खाती थी.
काजल से सनी आँखे मोटि, वो लाल रिबन  और दो चोटी
मेरे मन को बड़ी भाति  थी ,जब बात करो तुतलाती   थी,
सोची ना कभी कोई बात ओछी,  सिर्फ एक बार उसकी नाक पोछी
में  शंकित ,मोहित , स्तब्ध  रहा  , और  प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा

कुछ वर्ष गए ,वो फिर से मिली , लगती थी कुछ बदली बदली
वो संस्कृत मुझे पढ़ाती थी , खुद को मैडम कहलाती थी .
में जब उससे चांटा खता था , तो  अगले दिन ना नहाता था
मेने संस्कृत में टॉप किया ,किस्मत  ने प्लान फ्लॉप किया
वो  जॉब  छोड़  कर चली गयी , मेरी महनत यूँ छली  गयी
में शंकित ,मोहित , स्त्ब्थ रहा  , और  प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा

कुछ वर्ष गए , हम किशोर हुए ..आस पास वालों से बोर  हुए
हम थे योवन   की  चोखट पे , जब देखा उससे चित्र पट पे
वो बेल सद्रश्य बल खाती थी , नायक से चिपटी जाती थी
बारिश में गाना गति थी , ना पूछो क्या क्या कर जाती थी
मेने  नायक को कॉपी किया ,पर बन ना सका  उसका  पिया
में शंकित ,मोहित , स्तब्ध रहा  , और  प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा .

कालेजे  आया हम युवा हुए , लगता था जैसे खुदा हुए
हमारे दिल में एक सपना था , हमने दुनिया को बदलना था
हम तडित मेघ सुनामी थे , बदनाम बहुत  पर नामी थे
हम थे बड़े क्रांति कारी , वो आयी बनके विपदा भारी

आँखे उसकी  नूरानी थी ,वो पापा की  गुडिया रानी थी .
कॉलेज में जब वो आती थे , शर्माती थी सकुचाती थी ,
किसी से भी नहीं बतियाती थी , और मुझे देख मुड जाती थी .
था उसमे ऐसा आकर्षण , जैसे के दिन की पहली किरण
में  प्रिंसिपल से लड़ जाता  था  , पर उससे देख हकलाता  था  
में शंकित ,मोहित , स्तब्ध  रहा  , और  प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा .

फिर दिन बीते में बड़ा हुआ , आपने पेरो पे खड़ा हुआ
देखी जीवन की  धुप छांव , फिर आयी वो चंचला दबे पाँव.
अब मिली मुझे वो , मत पूछो कहाँ , में उसे पा नहीं सकता जहाँ
अब  मैंने  जब उसको देखा , तो  देखी एक  लक्ष्मण रेखा
है किसी और के वो संग खड़ी , बातें करती है बड़ी बड़ी
जीवन का अर्थ समझाती है , पर देख तिमिर डर जाती है
मेने ना कभी  इज़हार किया , उसने ने ना कभी इंकार किया
में शंकित ,मोहित , स्तब्ध  रहा  , और  प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा .

अब   दिन ढलता  है कार्यालय में , और रात कटे मदिरालय में
अब इनकम टैक्स में भरता हूँ ,  प्रति वर्ष  तीस प्रतिशत मरता हूँ
एक दिन केश राशी ,झड जायेगी और तोंद बहार आ जायेगी
एक छवि मुझे सतायेगी , रातों में मुझे जगाएगी
क्यों  शंकित ,मोहित , स्तब्ध रहा  , क्यों   प्रेम मेरा  निशब्द रहा .

This  is something I wrote this weekend . a poem partially inspired by real life . It document my  search for perfection . I hope you like it .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Year 2009 In Books

Book Review and Travelogue are two things that I never did on Knowprashant . which is a bit strange as reading and travelling are my when two of my fave blogger Aaron Swartz and Paul Buchheit  published their reading list for 2009( Link Link ) I was very much delighted to read them . I spotted some good books there which i would have missed other wise . I will be ordering them in months to come.

One thing I liked about those posts  was the sheer rawness of the list . There was just the name of book , link to amazon page with an occasional line or two thrown in stating blogger's opinion but by and large you have to do your own research and make your own judgement .which is a good thing cause Books are very subjective things . its subjective narration of something from author's point of view and its subjective interpretation of the same thing by lens of reader's perception. you and I might like the same book but how it effect you might be very different from how it shape me .

so I decided to compile a list of books i read in year 2009 with a few lines about them . i hope you find some good stuff here . (BTW here I would like to mention that there is a new website in India by name of  Flipkart most of these books are available there and at a good discount .I have ordered 5 books from their and I am very happy with their service .They are AMZ of india .Do check them out )

  • 1.In Search of Identity an Autobiography by Anwar El Sadat former president of Egypt . I first got to know about this book while reading Seven Habit of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey refereed to Mr.Sadat as a man who helped himself transform by sheer force of will. Book is good , straight forward and best part is when author talks about his time in prison . diplomatic shrewdness of Sadat is documented in brutal honesty when he talk about his experience of dealing with Soviet Russia and Swedge canal issue . I recommend it .Score 6 /10 .

  • 2 Barking by Tom Holt : A work of contemporary fiction where a submissive attorney from London suddenly finds himself amongst his school mates who transform him into Weer wolf , than he discover his wife is a vampire and Ex employer is a zombie. its funny and a bit gripping in the start  but gets boring toward the end . good for in flight reading. Score 4/10.

  • 3 Simulacra and Simulation By Jean Baudrillard :Its one of the very few e books i read and trust me this book was scary like hell. its a deeply philosophical book about the nature of reality and how we in modern world are totally separated from an objective reference of real and living is a simulacrum . this book was inspiration behind Matrix movies . It was originally written in French so English translation is a little TOO verbose and hard to understand .Honestly  I don't claim to understand it fully but whatever little i understood was enough to shake me . Recommended if you are in to philosophy Score 8.5/10.

  • 4 Journey to the source : Dr. Pradheep Chhalliyil . a Book about Matrix Trilogy and how vedic mythology and Upanishads have influenced it . a great read from Matrix Fan .A fascinating introduction to hidden symbolism in movie  I enjoyed reading it .you might not find it that good . make sure you have watched trilogy 10 times before you open the book . you will find it un putdownable : score 5/10.

  • 5 Logic of Life by Tim Harford : A good book about an economist's view on how our hidden rationality dictates our day to day decision making .worth reading once . Score : 6/10.

  • 6 Don Quixote by  Miguel de Cervantes :  A funny book about the adventure of a middle aged knight in search of adventure . I read it before heading out on journey to Himalayas this year. I am glad I did that . Score 7/10

  • 7 Autobiography of a Yogi : By Swami Paramhans Yogananda : A fascinating account of life story of a hindu yogi.This book dispel the myth that our Hindu religion is all about faith without any scientific basis . With humor, wisdom, and heart, Yogananda relates the extraordinary events of his life. But those events serve as a mere instrument for conveying sublime truths-truths expressed in such clear language that everyone can grasp them. you will not be bored reading this book that in itself is a big achievement for a book dealing with the subject of spirituality , philosophy and religion . Recommended reading : A Big Thanks to Mayukhini for recommending it .Score 8/10

  • 8 Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse :This was the book of year for me in more than one way . I have read it twice. all i can say is that after reading it I felt that  I should have read it few years back I would have been a different person today . Drop me a line in comment if you want me to buy this book for you I Will be more than happy to do that .seriously .A Big Thanks to Mayukhini for recommending it  Score : 9.5/10 

  • 9 Man's Eternal Quest : by Swami Paramhans Yogananda . A collection of essays / talks given by Swami Yogananda about Life ,Truth , search of God ,Philosophy , Non Dualism , Joy etc. Good read if you are into spirituality ans stuff . I read it as i was fascinated by the author after reading his auto biography.

  • 10.The Game by Neil Strauss: This is an outstanding book . on the face of it its just a autobiographical account of authors experience with the underground community of pickup artists . but under the surface this book teach every MAN an essential lesson of Self Worth  and confidence . This is a very  controversial book and some women might be (rightly) offended by the content of this book .Author's description of Women's behavior is less then flattering  but as author says in the book that at the end its a story of a guy who rewire his DNA and transform in to something of a girl magnet .This book teaches that external validation NEVER leads to self confidence it only creates dependency .its a Bestseller in all markets and every character in the book has made a booming business of workshops and seminar on the art of pickup .I can bet there will be a movie on this book very soon . Trust me  its INR 600 well spent . Score :9/10

  • 11 Hitch hiker's Guide to Galaxy Part 1,2,3,4,5 : by Douglas Adams :: I wanted to read this series for a long time but somehow never got around doing that so when I saw the 5 book set on 60% discount I had no choice but to buy it . Its a funny book . you can't help smiling on authors way of describing events . I am literally in love with a character named Marvin, a paranoid robot. every paragraph of Marvin was a laughing riots . One thing you realize while reading these books is that how arrogant we as a species are about our place in universe .Universe is so mindbogglingly big . we are just another species here . this book looks at our life , tradition, ritual from the view point of interstellar traveller . i liked the section where a tribe adopts modern management methods to evolve . this book was like no other book i read before .Light reading, a lot of fun and new perspective .  Read all 5 of them its worth it . Score 8/10 

  • 12 Jonathan Livingstone Seagull : By Richard Bach  It was on my reading list for a long long time .I was pleasantly surprised to receive it as a birthday present . A good allegorical story about the importance of following your heart's dream and doing what you believe in . It inspired me . Score 5/10.

  • 13 The Language Instinct : Steven Pinker : A good book if you are in to how we learn , epistemology and stuff , this deal with the debate about Language and how each one of us is born with a capacity /instinct for it . its not something we learn from external world . good stuff . Score 5/10 .

  • 14 Alice In Wonderland : Lewis Karol: Need i say something about this beautiful work ? Its timeless , simple and insightful . I am not good enough to rate or review it . 

  • 15 dot bomb : David Kuo  a typical story of rise and fall of a start up in dot com bubble of 90s .I still don't know why i spent 100 INR on this book . only lesson i learned is that never buy book if its available on sale with drastic discount . score 2/10

  • 16 The Secret : Rhonda Byrne : A VERY good book if you don't take the teachings too literally and make it an excuse for inertia and inaction. Law of attraction works . I have felt it . but Law of attraction is no excuse for inactivity you will still have to do the hard work . no silver bullet here in that sense . score 6/10 

  • 17 The Well Beloved : Thomas Hardy : This book was a gift and a very good gift .I never thanked the person so here is a formal "Thank You" . This book marks  my return to reading of classics after a gap of few years .Its a story of an artist who spend his life in search of perfect lover and Finlay dies . I felt bad to read the climax. I sometime worry that the book might be prophecy .because the person who gifted this to me believe in prophecy and fate . Score 7/10 

  • 19 The Choice  By Eli Goldratt Disclaimer:  I love author's way of thinking and often try to mimic his  approach in my day to day life ,with certain degree of success i guess  . if you want to buy this book i recommend please read The Goal by same author first .Score 8/10

  • 20 Kamayani : Jai Shankar Prasad : One of the best Hindi Epic ever written . its a writing about creation and elements of creation and human emotions. Jaishankar Prasad's description of women is nearest to what i am seeking in a partner  ( asking for too much Huh ??) Score :8/10. 

  • 22 Thus Spoke Zarthushtra : Friedrich Nietzsche : To deep and philosophical .I was not in a good frame of mind when I read it so i am not forming any opinion about it . will re read it . keep watching this space.

  • 24 2 States : Chetan Bhagat :A very  Light hearted  read about authors semi autobiographical account of convincing his parents for a cross cultural wedding .I like the simplicity of chetan's writing and his sense of humor . Score 5/10 

  • 25 Twilight : All right I admit I bought it shuffled through first 50 pages or so . couldn't understand what the hell was so special about it . apart from the fact that there is a boy who love to drink women's blood (Its usually other way round in real life ) . Luckily I had to go for a Birthday party in neighbourhood so i got this shit gift wrapped and gave it to a school going girl . Needless to say it was her fave gift this year . Weird World !! 

  • 26 Madhushala : re read it . Need i say something about it ? 

  • 27 Ignore Everybody :BY Hugh Macleod  This book is based on the hugely popular essay "How to be creative " by Hugh MacLoad . I have read this essay for more than 50times online I still  bought this book only for the purpose of gifting it to a friend. but ended up reading it one more time in print :) .You can read the transcript free online . Score 9/10.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen

Something  big has happened in protagonist’s life. He has been beaten by Mafia ,Loan shark of his village  has auctioned his farm, His girlfriend has ditched him ,his father has been killed by goons, his mother died of cancer, his wife  was gang raped by relatives or His sister has been burned by her inlaws. Details of events are inconsequential what matters is that its  A turning point in his life .His whole world, his perception of reality, his value system ,is undergoing  a tectonic shift . He is visibly shaken but he takes it very bravely. And Why not ? After all he is our HERO and this fact alone guarantee his survival .

An upbeat music start playing in background. Our protagonist start running . a montage of images from his past life start flashing on the screen . A globe start revolving , hands of an old Victorian wall clock start ticking , pages from calendar start moving in a rapid succession . Covering a journey of few years in few celluloid seconds. By the time music reaches to crescendo  Our protagonist is transformed . If he was a kid few min back He truns in to a MAN (a well established policeman, industrialist or gangster depending on the demand of script . )

His past avatar is not dead we are told. Its buried somewhere  deep inside him . He is  living in a self imposed denial .He tries his best to disconnect himself from past but invariably his past catches up with him toward the end of the movie . Again depending on the demand of script A lot of drama or action follows .protagonist   either settle some long overdue score or reconcile with others character and in Very few rare instances manage to get himself killed .But invariably He ALWAYS manage to prove his point .Family and police arrive and we start waiting for end credit .Movie is  over .

When it comes to transformation only Vampire , Unicorn and Werewolf can match our Bollywood Heroes  and thanks to the staple diet of Bollywood movies most of us get in our formative years .our idea of transformation is something like what I described above. But I have come to believe that THIS conception of transformation is precisely the reason why we rarely get to see a FUNDAMENTAL transformation in people around us. In majority of the cases people don’t change . Not in any basic ,tectonic way as shown in movies . Life progress in a linear fashion till the day we die .  Future , in most of cases is Past continuous tense . They want to change but they can’t .

Why ?

Most of us don’t acknowledge the effect movies have on collective psyche. We despise the idea  that we can be manipulated in to thinking something by a movie. Some of us can’t, but most of us can be manipulated and are being manipulated.  So if you are one of those pseudo intellectual who love to fancy himself as someone who is in control of his/her life and  you are beyond the scope of being manipulated (or even influenced) by anything. Then do me a favor. Move on .there is nothing here for you . I won’t even attempt  to explain anything  to you. Rest of on

The modus operandi of transformation shown in movies is not wrong .the problem is that in order to make it work we need to comply with it underlying premises .which is very hard .sometime because these premises are not obvious  and some time because its not humanly possible for us to follow them.

First premise is that protagonist knows that THIS is the turning  point .He can see everything as black and white .There is no confusion about the intent and character of people around him . Good and bad stand apart from each other. Unfortunately Real life don’t work that way. We are never sure of the intentionality of evil .  We always tend to think of evil act of our peers as some sort of circumstantial breach of trust  .After all, these are the very people who were good to us in another place and time . add to this the prevalent popular wisdom of not being judgmental  which is pushing  our whole generation into the realm of  quasi nihilism. Fact is that sometime you need to decide ,some time you Need to be judgmental. Funny thing is that almost each one of us is passing judgment all the time but since its not fashionable we just don’t stand for it .We don’t  want to pay the price for it . ergo  only time  we act on our judgment  is when we do some thing cunning or calculative . Transformation never happens out of  calculation . That’s not the path of protagonist that’s a shortcut to mediocrity .

Second premise which goes unexamined (or underestimated ) is of effect of time . Time can heal anything . its true .time not only heal but it also makes us stale ,we loose our steam. Perhaps that’s the reason  our new year  resolution don’t last . Most of us tend to forget very easily and most of us love the cozy conformity of routine. While our heroes manage to keep the fire burning for a long time but we give up somewhere in between . Nothing brings down the moral of a soldier than fatigue .we often underestimate the need of perseverance in transformation. 

Along with time, success also play a catalytic role in deciding whether we actually transform ourselves or not . Funny part is that most of the time we give up after the first brush of success in our quest .Its hardship which keep us going . As they say Good is often the biggest enemy of best . Sadly our first validation is also the first(potential) nail in coffin of our ambition. I think I felt it for the first time when I was in 12th standard I was amongst the top 3 of my class. Everyone was sure that I can crack engg entrance easily . I bought in to the story and appeared in exam and cleared it . My plan was to skip  classes  in first year and enroll in IIT JEE coaching but I was somewhat enamored by all the appreciation I was getting from family ,friends and relatives . Complacency creped in and against my better judgment I decided to settle for engineering course .I regret it till this day .

But I might not be a worthy  example. So I request you to test it your self . Go pick up biography of ANY revolutionary/Iconoclast you admire. I can bet that there will be a passage in the story where establishment presented a temptation of inclusion to him and He refused .That’s the reason their stories are being read today. Most of us get tired and give up to the first temptation of Inclusion . That’s the reason no one will read our biography (they might read our blog . I hope J )  . From  Aristotle to OSHO and from Charles Darwin to Richard Dawkins this is the case .Real challenge of a transformation is not hardship of battle. it’s the complacency  of initial success . 

Last thing we don’t notice is that often times we derive our motivation from a desire to prove a point .  its external and what make it worse is that often time it lies in humans .We want to prove something to our peers. But unlike the movies there will not be a reunion  of all the character toward the end of our lives . We realize that no one actually gives a shit . The very people who caused the turmoil have became a distant and passive observer NOW. Busy in their lives. Circle of their lives are concentric to us but they don’t merge in spiral .Since as a hero we have to prove a point we see it clearly that it won’t be happening no matter what. Often time we give up our quest on realizing that.  Of all the reason I mentioned above this is the best reason to give up . Life is too precious to waste it  proving a point to someone who don’t care .

Epilogue :
It’s the time of year when we all make our NEW year resolutions. I haven’t made any resolution this time.  But if you are making any resolution than I hope that this post be of some use to you. I wish you a Very Happy and Prosperous new year . Good Luck and Godspeed!!

Pic Credit : YellowCakeMushroom