Archive for July, 2008

Death Came Sudden©

Touch the face,
Feel the pulse.
Death has come

Done the washing,
Candles guttering,
Last rites done:

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,-
But there shall be
No singing,
For this child
Of mine:

Words are hollow
As this heart
Death has come


Read Full Post »

One Sunday morning George C. Marshall came to read in his newspaper the flight of three Russians from Moscow over the North Pole.  They had taken off in a single engine monoplane two days before and they were scheduled to stop over in Oakland. But it so happened they were overhead ready to land at Pearson Field, south of Vancouver Barracks, practically in his front yard.
Marshall arranged for their breakfast and went out to receive unexpected and already world famous visitors.
They were brought over to his barracks to rest and Mrs. Marshall won their good will and notice in papers throughout the country by supplying ham, bread and a huge G.I pot of coffee.
Before the converging press could interview the visitors Marshall arranged for change of clothes and set up a news room and facilities for broadcasts in his living room. He knew always what was needed of the moment and cut out the ideological claptrap and party politics.

While Europe was battling the Nazi menace FDR hoped the nation would not be drawn into the war. President Roosevelt proposed to help Britain and France building up their air power with which they could hold Hitler in check without US participation. His policy was outlined in a White House conference on Nov.14,’38 and his idea was to build ten thousand planes for the purpose.
Most of his aides fell in with his proposal and said flatteringly so. When the president asked Marshall the Deputy Chief of Staff made his objections clear.
His relationship with FDR was a slow process  and to the president he proved to be the most important strategic advisor during the war.
Even when FDR decided to promote him to the highest position he did not tell anyone. Not even the Secretary of State. One Sunday he was called to White House and offered him the post of Chief of Staff. Marshall told him that he wanted the right to say what he thought and it would be often unpleasant.” Is that all right?” The president agreed. “You said ‘yes,’ pleasantly, but it may be unpleasant.” George Marshall said.

Read Full Post »

Homespun Tales©
Mr.Olllie Phant had a silly task ahead. Two tasks, in fact and both silly as you shall see soon.
Tsk!Tsk! Imagine walking in public with two gargantuan tusks in broad daylight. Least of all he could have got was a face job; or stashed them in a trunk to spare our feelings. Tsk! Tsk! He carried on and on. He just trumpeted his presence like a Gabriel, instead.
First thing he did as he turned the corner was to knock on the door of Mr. Lee who pressed coats however crumpled they were. Mr. Ollie Phant obviously hadn’t thought of Mr. Lee till that moment.
There must be something serious afoot.
Mr. Ollie said, “ Mr.Lee, I have a suit I’m ashamed to wear in public. Now I am called to sup with the highest of the realm.” Mr. Lee was all for ironing  out his problem but the suit didn’t come off that easily. Mr. Ollie snorted, “ No man has made me come out of it. Least of all a Chinaman.”
Mr.Lee was  clever and he replied, “ Let me try even if I have to go without my supper.”  Quietly he slipped into the corner and brought some squiggly thing. “ Ollie Phant exclaimed,   “ What have you got in there? I smell a rat!”
It was a mouse instead. Mr. Lee in a flash stuck the mouse out to the trunk and Mr. Ollie jumped in horror. “ You frightened me out of my skins!” whimperd Mr Phant.
“ Now I shall iron your coat, ” said Mr. Lee, “ while you white all over!”
“I can’t wait. I am supping with King Siam.”
“Siam is now known as …”
Say-I- Am is the name of the king.” Mr. Ollie said loud and clear. “Triumphantly I can say…”
When the king compliments you for your pressed suit just tell:
“Trium Phant Lee.”
“I helped you look good. Did I not?” As Mr. Lee gave the pressed skin back to him, “ I get some compliments too”.
He said, “You are Mr. Phant. And I am Mr. Lee.”
At that point Mr. Ollie said, “I had something else on my tired mind.”
Mr. Ollie dropped his turd and said,“ That takes a load off my mind.”
“ Now I have a problem!”
“I am off to my supper!” Mr. Ollie said triumphantly while Mr. Lee looked on.

Read Full Post »

In the medieval India there lived a mystic on this side of River Godavari. Before he became the teacher of Truth he was called Gampa Guru. He grew up among ordinary folks, all weavers belonging to same community. In Kothipalli of course one knew his place and the weavers were almost at the bottom, a cut above the untouchables. As a boy he knew one who had changed all that. He was  Mahirshi Shoonya to whom kings and the poor alike gave respect. Naturally the folks of Kothipalli made much of the sage and his great gifts. He was a devotee of Brahma, the creator and he settled himself at the foot of the Himalayas below a shrine that was dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer. Shiva is in the Hindu pantheon of gods, a manifestation of the Trinity. To every pilgrim who passed him  to do obeisance to the image of him in the form of a Shivalinga, Maharshi Shoonya would say, ‘Remember Brahma, the ultimate principle!”
“But we have come to worship, Shiva the destroyer!”
“Just the same mind Brahma. Will you?”
All the pilgrims took him for one with special gifts, touched by gods meaning that he had lost his marbles.
Once young Gampa Guru alias Paramartha, went to the Shrine in the company of his father. Mahirshi as usual called out to them to mind Brahma. “I have come for neither, Mahirshi” Gampa Guru replied,” I have come to show respect to you?”
“If so why visit Shiva? Brahma is the one you ought to worship.”
The boy asked,  “Pray what is your name?”

Shunya as in Punya.” ( Nothingness as in Holiness )
Turning to his father, the boy whispered, ”See him, father the one who sits there?” “That mad Mahirshi who tries to distract all to worship Brahma instead?”
“He isn’t against Shiva! “ the boy said seriously,” He says consider the seed of Life, consider the creator!” The old Mahirshi who overheard him came to him and told the father of the boy,” He ought to sit there instead of me.” His father was surprised beyond words.
*The whole universe is spun out of opposites. We approach Life in order to be swallowed by Death. We gather wealth and prestige while we lose something else in the bargain. Matter is of material nature that allows our senses to make some sense out of it. Whereas every matter comes with its abstract nature as well. When we speak of God or light as ideas we are also setting up Satan or Darkness by the same token.

Read Full Post »


‘The boy is known for tall tales,’ The Angel told the Ancient Of The Days who showed no emotion. Glancing at the Book of Remembrance he turned to ask his cohorts all dressed in white, “Why bread is buttered only on one side?” The host of angels seemed to think hard and then looked at each other for a hint, and then scratched their heads. It was painful to see them struggle and give up as lost. Perhaps they knew the time and place wasn’t right for levity. You see God was in heaven and this scene was played before the White Throne of Judgment.
The Angel who stood by the Old Man asked,“ Do tell us, Father!”

“Because the mouth cannot tell the difference.”

A short laugh greeted it and the Old Father laughed hard and said at last, “The boy has spunk of a wit.” He pointed to another page and asked,” Why does a piano tuner keeps his ear to the keys?” The angels who were gathered there in their order, suddenly went blank and said, ”You tell us father, we cannot think as well as he can.”
The Ancient of The Days chuckled even before he uttered a word. “A piano tuner keeps his ear because it is the nearest he could ever get to play the instrument.” He said and laughed till his whole body shook with laughter.
“Gabriel, you are the horn player,” He asked, “what do you think?”
“Piano, is it difficult to play father?” The Old Man just glared, “Haven’t you got an ounce of humor, Gabriel?”
Taking a grave demeanor he asked Gabriel to lean closer. He said, “Get some humor. It is an Order!”
“I expect to come back with a joke.” Bowing he went from the presence of the Old Man and went to the boy who was evidently bored. The boy was in the Hall of Dead Souls,awaiting his turn like so many others.
Gabriel gingerly took out a candy bar wrapped in silver paper and said,” I have this for you…” He held it towards him. Conversationally he asked, “Do you like candies?”
Gabriel added, “Here we don’t eat or drink. Still we can have anything we have a yen for!” The boy thought it was the silliest thing he ever heard in life. Encouraged by Gabriel he took the candy and tasted it. ‘Uggh!’he spat it out, ”Can the dead toungue taste?Ugh!” The boy looked a picture of woe. Gabriel said, ”OK I shall give your taste back as before. Promise me you shall also do me a good turn.” The boy nodded. Gabriel touched his mouth,“Oh yes. I shall make your tongue taste just as before.” The boy felt a strange sensation around his tongue.
The boy tasted the candy and his face showed bewilderment. “I cannot understand it. I taste it as though I had also a pot of glue as well.” Gabriel knew from the evident disgust what was wrong with his gift: he only made the tongue as human. And it didn’t work that way.
“I shall make you whole for once.”  Gabriel put his hand out and touched the crown of his head. The boy felt a strange wave of 1000 volts rushing through him. With it he felt as though he were dreaming on his feet! Hazily he saw the old mansion once again brought to life. The windows were being open and some shut while he remembered: he saw spring sunshine flooding into room for long shut down. While those little patterns on the walls frolicked he could hear: glasses clinked downstairs and voices singing to some accompaniment. ‘Ah he heard footfalls though muffled by the plush carpets and it brought joy. He could sense his father coming to kiss him goodnight. He smelled lavender and sensed his mother waiting her turn to kiss him. When he looked he caught the archangel looking at him curiously. “You can now taste it. You are alive. Your life fully restored.”
The boy took a bite and he bawled loud with all stops pulled. Gabriel was shocked. He never had a clue what happened. The boy said, “I want to go home.” He asked, “What was that you wanted me to do in return?”
“Tell me a joke.”
“What for?”
“I have to tell the Old Man upstairs a joke before I meet him again.” The boy thought hard and shook his head in frustration. There is nothing that I can remember worth telling.” Again a teardrop or two fell from the guileless cheeks and Gabriel felt sorry.
Gabriel said in a whisper,“We shall go back where you came from.”
Before the boy could grasp they were standing on the sidewalk. It was Christmas Eve and there stood under the awning a group of revellers. Archangel and the boy were as dressed as any of those who gravitated towards the throng. They could hear chiming of bells and drums beaten with gusto. Gabriel was curious and dragged the boy along in order to investigate. At the centre stood Santa Claus waving a baton while a choir dressed in white and red over their everyday clothes were belting out a medley of perennial favourites one after the other to the enjoyment of the crowd. Gabriel saw the man with his concertina, a regular squeezebox and he turned to the boy to whisper. “Does he have to shake his head and gyrate his whole body?”
The boy looked at the player. He turned around and said with a straight face, “ He isn’t playing but rolling with a stomach cramp.” The angel looked at the boy and caught the wild merriment in his eyes. He laughed so hard and so did the boy.
Next instant Gabriel was flying with the boy back to the Throne of Judgment where the Ancient Of The Days waited for him.  Gabriel began, “Father, Why didn’t I blow my silver trumpet down there?”
“You were afraid of bringing the roof down!” prompt came the reply.
“ Right on!” the archangel hummed,” Had I brought the roof down, you would have blown the top!” Ho,Ho,Ho they laughed and their laughter went like waves of merriment till the crystal roof of heaven chimed and the angels tittered.
Gabriel was on a very upbeat mood. He laughed so hard. So did the boy.
The End

Read Full Post »

I just read the news that Robert Solway, a top spammer was sentenced to nearly four years. In a land where patriotism is measured according to how many dollars you can make, spamming may be considered one helluva way of making a fast buck. But then we see in the present days the conventional wisdom of so many institutions, has completely lost its sense and meaning. Business of course isn’t as it was before.
Take the institution of war. In the time of Alexander of Macedonia a soldier wouldn’t think twice from hurling himself into the thick of battle. He put his life on the line just as Alexander. From the greatest to the lowly foot soldier the war was something that you entered into for the country and for personal reasons. His thereby held up the honor of his country and he, in a personal sense, also purged his own goblins of fear. Now we see the war is outsourced, and technology for all its high-tech arsenal does not sanctify patriotism of a nation. It merely creates a smokescreen, for cowardice and the real motive for which nations go to war.
What is the motive? War profits of course. It is the real business these days and it has become anonymous.
If you look closely into the reason of economic crunch we can see this anonymity at work as we see in the sub-prime mortgage crisis of today. In that murky world of the sub-prime mortgage, interest rates were kept low at first and then rose to compensate lenders for the low credit ratings of the borrowers. Why did the Banks outsource their responsibilities to institutions that were questionable to say the least? All for a quick buck, mind you.
We have online criminals for the same reason a nation outsources its  vitality, pride and honor to others: it is safer and anonymous. These are no more monsters than those who squander all that a nation holds dear for some quick profits for a few. The spammers are bred from the same cesspool as others.

(ack: Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service Tue Jul 22, yahoo news)

Read Full Post »

The ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu said,   “ Though clay may be molded into a vase, the essence of the vase is in the emptiness within it. ”
Each of us is like a vase. A vase is meant for carrying something.
We carry about us the experience of our race and a world that one may say is an inner world. But are we well acquainted with it?
Are our senses the only infallible guide we have?  Our eyes often deceive us.  Our eyes look at an object but in order to understand what we have seen our brain must process it for us. Our ears hear but, once again, requires the brain to make sense of what we heard. Our senses are merely part of something else. Our body works with our brain as one.
Our inner world is similarly connected to the world without. How large would that world be? Your guess is as good as mine.
In short the essence of each is connected: if I say it is connected to God or Truth who shall disprove me?

Read Full Post »

Recluse Of The Eastern Slope ©

Su Shi (1036-1101) who called himself Su Tungpo was a legend in his own lifetime. (He is considered by common consent as one of the greatest Chinese poets). Having displeased the emperor he was for a period under detention at Huangchow. (Another time he served his time on the island of Hainan). In his time girl babies were often abandoned or killed by parents who thought they were a burden. What a poet like Su Tungpo could do? Use his pen of course. He was in disgrace  and yet he stood for his ideals.  ‘What good is for a cricket to protest against the might of the moon?’ Many of his contemporaries thought he was being foolish. They wished he would accept things as they are.

His protest against the custom of drowning of the girl babies was so effective that when he left Huangchow the grateful parents lined up the village streets with tears in their eyes and babies in their arms whose very lives had been saved by his efforts.

One of the girls thus saved grew up to be a woman of extraordinary merits. She married a poor scholar and she went to live in a cottage by the gorges that overlooked the Yellow river. Once the river flooded and would have swept away many villages. It was her timely warning an entire village could be saved before the flood struck.  What good was it for the poet to make his stand against what he felt strongly as evil?
What a poet like Su Tungpo could do? Use his pen of course. He worked tirelessly at great peril to his own safety. But no man fights or dies alone. In his fight against social injustice he suffered in some ways but it had its own way of proving his point: nothing good ever is lost.
We are examples to others regardless of success or failure. Because we are so connected what we do is a force for others to add their own bit accordingly. Su Tungpo never embarked on his personal crusade with any foreknowledge that it would save an entire village. He only needed to set an example of his humanity as he knew best. If his writings influenced his age as far as literary criticism could, his humanity saved lives. A poet needs to believe as much as a penpusher in his own power.

Read Full Post »

A Sister in White©
You say I am in good hands
And you are here for me.
I am served hand and foot,-
Of creature comforts, I shall
Let that pass;
You are too concerned
With health and I with taste
And of this sorry mess.
(two lumps please, sister
And you quote, ‘regulation, sir.’);
You are the model of service
And  aver,
Everything shall be as before,
(Pass the mush and peas)
Sure, I am sick with the fare;
Can you not spice it up little?
Kiss me slow and long
Till my toes curl and think
I ate but food of the goods
And drank to eternal sleep
Fed straight from your lips.
(Ah you laugh easily, sister
And refuse sustenance
That I have yen for.
Yet let my hands grope your front)
That is a dead giveaway:
I am a dead man for sure.

Read Full Post »

The news of Sharon Tate killing forty years ago made a great impact on me especially at a time I was just getting into grips with life and death. I asked myself: Does God let innocents suffer? Merely because she happened to be the wife of Roman Polanski against whom Manson had some grudge? The senselessness of life I can still see erupting at random. Do I worry over it? No. There are much more acts of kindness and purpose happening all around me so I may say that these sensible and well thought actions offset whatever occurs by chance. I would certainly worry if  I took to my head to stop being good or try at least to be nice to others. Of course I shall howl if I stopped in the process being good to myself .
I just read the news The California Board of Parole denied parole to Susan Atkins one of the Manson follower who had recounted her role in stabbing Tate. Before the parole board Steve Atkins pleaded for release and averred that they were abused when young. Susan Atkins, 60 must have had reasons that led her to the crime but forty years dying slowly and living with her guilt in a prison cell gives me the creeps. I get a fair idea what hell must be like.
It makes me also think we create our own hell or heaven here and now. When we act irresponsibly to our children or when they turn out to be monsters we have done valuable service to ‘Satan’ and extend his kingdom ever so little to this part as well. Turn out a child to do bad she shall do worse as Susan Atkins came into contact with Charles Manson for example. These are chains of events in each life that could add to the power of hell on earth or add to heaven. We alone are responsible for heaven and hell.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »