22 January 2007

Brothers In Arms

Let's take a break today from my blabbering. Just enjoy the lyrics of this beautiful song.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arm

Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms.

17 January 2007

Borat Cohen

Saw the Golden Globes ceremony (repeat telecast) yesterday night. For me, the highlight was Sacha Baron Cohen's outrageous acceptance speech. It was unlike any speech you'll hear at an awards ceremony. Most members of the audience were laughing uncontrollably; only one or two seemed put off by Cohen's toilet humour.

Now we have to see if Borat will be released in India, and if it is, just how much of it will get past the Great Indian Censors.

Team McLaren

Check out McLaren's drivers for 2007. Alonso looks cool in his new haircut, and Lewis Hamilton is the first black driver in F1.

I think McLaren's car troubles will continue this year. That leaves the field open for Kimi Raikkonen to claim his first Championship.

Alonso dumped a winning team for a struggling one because he was offered $40 million. So that's what he thinks the Driver's Championship is worth.

12 January 2007

RIP, Beckham

We always knew David Beckham was more of a model than a footballer. Now the transformation is complete. You know a footballer doesn't care about the game any longer when he moves to the US. The asinine British media, instead of lamenting the fall of a once-fine player, are going ga-ga over how much money he will make now.

05 January 2007


Recently I had an email discussion with a friend on spirituality. Today's post is a mail I sent to him.

The search for Truth is highly personal and subjective. Every man must follow his own path. For whatever it is worth, I'll put down my own beliefs/opinions here. So that you know where I stand.

First and foremost, I am not a spiritual person. What is spirituality? Indian philosophy teaches us that only the body dies at death. The soul does not die; it takes up another body. Thus we take birth and die repeatedly. Do I agree with this? I don't know. We cannot prove it, and we cannot disprove it either. But I am willing to grant this theory the benefit of doubt. Science has not yet been able to crack the mystery of consciousness.

Indian philosophy further says that this phenomenon of being born and dying repeatedly is a bad thing, because life is full of suffering and/or the world is unreal (maya). Hence the goal of life is to attain freedom (mukti/moksha) from the cycle of births and deaths (samsara). This is the cornerstone of Indian spirituality. (Even the so-called heterodox schools like Buddhism and Jainism hold this belief. The only exception was the Charvaka, which took an extremely materialist view - perhaps to compensate for the extreme spirituality of mainstream Indian philosophy) Anyway, this is where I disagree.

I don't agree that life is full of suffering. Suffering is a part of life, but that should not make us run away from it. Especially when we cannot be certain of a better alternative (more on this later). And I don't believe that the world is unreal. Here I have to state my assumptions, so that you know where I'm coming from.

I have decided to believe only what I can see with my two eyes, what agrees with my reasoning, and (this is most important) what makes sense in the light of my experience. I have decided to limit myself to what I can know for certain, instead of making theories about things I cannot know for sure. This kind of attitude means you'll have a very small set of beliefs, but so be it. Better a hut built on rock, than a palace built on sand.

So what are the consequences of having such an attitude? Let us consider some common questions.
1) Is there a God? I don't know. The existence of God cannot be proved; it cannot be disproved either. I choose to believe in God. Why? Because it makes life easier.
2) Is there a soul? As I said earlier, I am neutral on this.

Back to our discussion. Is this world real? I don't know, but I will live my life assuming it is, unless something happens that convinces me otherwise. Here is what I DO know for sure: we are born, we die, and in between, we are alive for some time. So the question before us is not 'What is the Ultimate Truth?' (which is irrelevant for our everyday life), but 'How should we live?'.

So I don't agree that the goal of life is to attain freedom from the cycle of births and deaths. At least, I am not going to live my life trying to ensure that I am not born again. Even if we are born again and again, what does it matter? For all practical purposes every life is our first life, since we have no memory of our previous lives.

Then what do I think is the purpose of life? Simple: the purpose of life is to live. Life consists of both good and bad, happiness and sorrow, victories and defeats. One should experience life in all its fullness, in all its variety. One should know what it means to be born as a human being and what it means to live as one, before he dies.

Am I losing anything by having such a worldly view of life? Maybe. But I choose to put my eggs in a basket I can see (however imperfect it is), instead of in a basket that I am not sure exists (however perfect it is). Once upon a time I was also spiritual and other-worldly. But when real life hit me, philosophy went out of the window.