Sunday, October 28, 2007

god is work

A friend of mine worked in an office where people complained all day.
They were unhappy and wanted to leave but didn't. A budget cut
happened and many of these people were laid off. As they cleaned out
their desks, they cried. People in the greatest most powerful country
in the history of the Earth, trapped as slaves in their jobs which paid
60,000, 80,000, 100,000. The money did not matter, I am sure all of
them yearned to be out in the sun and not working for the weekend or
that 2 week vacation in a resort in the Caribbean. Instead they were
stuck 8 hours plus, in front of a computer in air conditioning. Damned
if they did, damned if they didn't. There was no way out for them,
they were destined to be unhappy.

I have visited "progressive" do gooding organizations that look the
same. The work they do is suppose to be different yet I see no
difference. Everybody in front of their computer in an office, all
day, working, as if process did not inform outcomes. When you talk to
many of them they look just as tired and worn out as the rest. They
pay lip service to the importance of their work but in an abstract
religious way. They choose something that made it easier for them to
sit in front of a computer all day, thats the difference, but what
equalizes all of us is the slavery to the office and the computer.

Makes me wonder about my mother, a clerk in an office for 20 years. I
remember I went to work with her once and she spent 2 hours licking
stamps and sealing envelopes. I thought, wow, I am at home watching TV
and fooling around while my mother seals envelopes so that I can fool
around and watch TV. My mother never complained about her job, never
said she was tired and I came to realize she was adored at work. She
worked mostly with African American women and was the first Indian
woman in her unit. At her retirement party I realized what a presence
she was for the office. She was everybody's confidant and took on
people's work and helped out everyone the best she could. In her own
way she forged goodness and light in a dark situation. Thats what I
have realized always, that no matter how bad the situation, humanity,
goodness, the light, lurks somewhere somehow with someone. Our free
will comes in, in choosing what side we want to be on. Maintaining
love in darkness, when nobody is watching and we don't know why we do
what we do. When you will get nothing in return and you still pick the
path of light.

I do that but don't feel alone. I have always imagined that I am being
filmed, not in a big brother way but in a french avant garde way. I
want my film to be beautiful, I pay attention to my movements and even
how I soap my belly. I remember to smile from time to time and make my
bed in the morning. To let the tea kettle whistle as I smoke listening
to jazz. Reading the paper on the can, writing poetry in the wind,
blowing kisses to the pretty school girls in plaid skirts. Yeah, the
camera never stops.

I asked my mother if she liked her job. And she said yes, it was nice
for her. It was good because she knew she was giving me a life,
putting food on the table and helping her family get ahead. She had a
purpose and it was other people. Those people in my friend's office, I
wonder why that wasn't enough? Why were they unhappy and my mother
happy? Maybe they wanted more, or expected more from life. My mother
was content that she helped support her family and educate her
children. I don't know if that will be enough for me and I wonder if
that makes me worse or better as a person.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Henry Miller - The original motherfucker

I finished "Tropic of Cancer" and convened with
the original Beat spirit, the grandfather of us
all. To think he wrote this in the early 1930s.
I couldn't believe it, I kept looking at the
date of publication and said no, it can't be,
must be the 60s. It is raw and vibrant, a
feeling hard to feel nowadays. What he writes
about is truer today than ever: man is becoming
weak, western civilization is over, success is a
sham. Where are the men of action, of
determination? Who are willing to more than
just die, no, not more martyrs, but people who
are not afraid to LIVE and love, as that is much
more difficult in our solitude. Don't let your
solitude overwhelm you. Allow it to strenghten
and make you more loving. The point of
everything is love and health. Evrything else
is just empty ambition.

The book moves with dynamic audacity, you feel
the rush of the truth in you and don't know why.
You forget what its about yet you want to be in
it, feeling what Miller feels starving in Paris,
it hits parts of you that you didn't know felt
anymore. It awakens. It enlivens, it makes you
want to jump and scream and shout to all those
helpless idiots watching football and on their
iphones saying "like", "like", and you want to
banish the word LIKE, because its destroys free
thought and silience in your mind, when people
feel the need to speak but really have nothing
to say. Take in the no talk.

In finished henery miller as I was watching
scorscese's "no direction home", so its been
quite a trip for me. Both works of striking
beauty that go quite a long way in furthering my
feeling and purpose here in America. There is a
war out there, always been there, and miller and
Dylan understood and lived life with that
awareness. The greater difficulty in America is
that it tries to convince you otherwise. It
makes you let your guard down and then kills you
with its food, alienation, technology and bad
music. And then come the pharm drugs and you
are on the life plan. You become their slave
and pay and work to maintain your disease. You
don't know what hit you, it happens quietly for
many, they justify their weaknesses and before
they know it they've lost desire, they don't
even desire desire, itself.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


When I was a child, i was separated from my mother to take a trip with
my father, to india. My grandmother died with a picture of me held
close to her heart. It was decided that I was to be taken along to
cheer up the family and touch her body before cremation. There is a
picture now, of me touching her dead body, it's striking, the contrast
between my baby vitality and her soulless shell. They tell me that it
led to a hysteric scene among the women of the family, particularly
because I had no fear and naturally paid reverence to her spirit by
kissing her face. You may not believe me if I tell you I remember that
day and that moment clearly. I remember the sun coming through the
veranda, and my Billu bhaiya, a portly fellow of 28 who bobbed me up
and down, I can feel the smiles coming toward me through fits of
crying, the scene filled with a contradiction of emotions and
sentiments. The joy of my life and the sadness of loss. The suffering
would become worse, my Billu Bhaiya would be murdered 6 months later,
thrown off the tallest building in connaught place, 13 floors to his
death. He would be doused with alcohol and the papers would report a
suicide as the accused were Delhi's most powerful. In a fit of poetic
irony, my father was the chief engineer of that building and it was his
pride and joy to have built Delhi's tallest skyscraper. Only to lose
his nephew to it. My father had bad luck with buildings I suppose as
the other building he helped build, the world trade center, has met the
fate my father promised would never occur. "That building can
withstand an impact of an airplane, its new technology..." I heard him
say that over and over. The new building was a civil engineering
marvel, fireproof stairwells and a design meant to resist the impact of
a plane. Bam.

After a week, it dawned on me, that my mother was missing. The
realization came in seeing her picture in my uncle's house. I took it
and threw it to the ground, stomping on it and crying. All pictures
of her had to be removed. I would go into unbearable fits of rage and
heartbreak in seeing her image. In recollecting this memory my mother
finds this amusing or perhaps she was secretly touched as she has
always had a bias to those who show their suffering, who express their
feelings. When a close family friend died and his daughters shed no
tears at the funeral, my mother was appalled. There was no greater
crime for her. She couldn't understand how anyone could remain
emotionless and composed in the face of death. I make it a point to
cry to my mother. I know she is the only one that understands and sees
it as a good, healthy, natural thing.

Life is fragile and any moment not spent savoring it, is wasted. There
isn't much time and the moment is only now that we have. What a sin it
is to complain or be bored. I never understood that word: bored. To
be bored means you are not paying attention to the wonder that
surrounds us. The problem is that we are conditioned to want more than
we need. We get used to screens, and gadgets and forget how
mesmerizing simple things like our breath, moving in and out, is. A
life force moves within us, our body is in a harmony that sings its own
music, if we let it. And then there is our imagination, those pictures
in our head, we can think and imagine almost anything, its a moving
picture show. Our very own film, yet most people don't see it and most
people let the outside control the inside. Control your film, be your
film, let nothing change your world. Because if we don't control the
content and let it flow than it overflows us. "Letting it flow" is a
misinterpreted concept. It doesn't mean a lack of responsibility and
consciousness, as many people do. It means consciously, very
consciously letting things come to you but being aware throughout the
process and feeling the universe working with you and in you. Most
people associate inaction with letting it flow, when really it is an
active form of doing nothing and allowing the harmony and the spirit to
come in you.

I came home last night and my mother told me of her time at my cousin's
wedding. I'm not close to her and didn't go and to be truthful I don't
like to go to events full of Indian diaspora. I feel inadequate and
unhappy having to essentialize myself based on my work. The adage "you
are what you do" is never truer than in the indian american community
(note i write indian american, Indians are much more diverse and much

I start worrying about things I never worry about and if its not a
sense of inferiority that engulfs me, I take on the other extreme. I
develop an artificial sense of superiority, a defense mechanism I am
sure, deriding the bankers and doctors as not having truly lived life
(would that be so far off?). It becomes bad, I'd rather just be who I
am and be with others who have no pretenses and just want to come
together to break bread and drink the wine, and dance a little.

This is blog is back. I am in a new city, again in a new place, and
again with an overwhelming need to reach out to cyberspace. I send my
love to you, people, out there. Somehow, in an Andy Warholesque way, I
feel I can get to a truth in this exhibitionism. At the very least
this blog does wonders in charming the ladies.