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Ruminations of a poet and philosopher

Archive for the ‘Sunil Kumar’ Category

The City of Djinns

Posted by Sunil on August 10, 2010

By Sunil Kumar

I walk through a mausoleum. Distant voices, eerie past. The modern city merges with remnants of a bygone age. Global terrorists and spoofs. The sands of time in a splitsecond. What is eternity? The imagination of poets and philosophers or the miasma of a daily grind.

Well-manicured gardens with sycophants in the city of power. Find the soul in this city. Ostentatious celebrations reek of falsehood – Really?? Analysis probably leads you to a dead-end.

Wasn’t I reared on history, ghosts and the celebration of life? Slang – crass, no unfamiliar? Commercial, carnal cities on the Arabian Sea are probably worse. Who are we to judge? Do cities have a heart? Adios to buried politicians, seats of power: back to life alive, positive, meandering, incredible and interesting!!

[Apologies to Monsieur Dalrymple ]


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Avatars, Digital Incarnations and Nirvana

Posted by Sunil on December 27, 2009

By Sunil Kumar

The eternal skeptic lives. This year is coming to an end. “Avatar” – Hollywood marketing at its best lives up to the hype and is acclaimed as great film-making. But was there a story in all that technical wizardry or merely poor men eating cake marvelling at a rich man’s 300 million dollar world?

It’s been a year since my personal fulminations have been online. “Existential Angst” in England, and an Indian interlude.

Nirvana cassetes stock mein nahin hai and Cobain in Indian English has left for his heavenly abode. Colloqualisms are wonderful. If Sakyamuni were alive today, Boddhisatva would mean a doper with only a faint idea of religion.

Link it with a dawg idea – and please Mr., Mrs. Miss xxxsan, heaven loves me more than you could know.

Three hundred days, innumerable hours and countless seconds come to an end when one annus durabilis comes to an end. I don’t know what durabilis means, just identify it with mirabilis and horribilis, the Queen of England and Princess Diana probably knew it with some help from (ahem!) red-tops.

In my next incarnation, I’m going to be digital and my brain not a mish-mash of three hundred different influences competing for space.

Enlightenment will be within my lifetime and my ineffable presence will glide through the galaxy. Nirvana will not be a grunge band from Seattle, and it will not mean extinction of a soul flame.

Ideas and opinions will merge into a new idiom, and the world will acknowledge that human ideas are borrowed, mingled and re-used.
Rich countries will not con poor countries, and natural resources will be equitably distributed. Frequent TV breaks will not disturb my thinking, and conmen will be a thing of the past.

Books on philosophy will not remain noble statements enshrined for college courses, academics or rock singers. Golfers, governors and commoners will not be caught in sex scandals and carnality will not be a taboo subject – admired, reviled, spoken of in hushed tones and sold to the highest bidder.

Nobody will know what idealism is – and not misuse it. Countries will not be bullies and invent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Social inequities would end and nobody will starve.

Six billion people will have a reason to smile – and MJ would not need to sing meaningful songs, marry Elvis Presley’s daughter and be accused of being a paedophile.

Media generated frenzies would not engulf the entire world and money would not be the sole means of survival. Hollywood blockbusters would not make money on apocalyptic scenarios.

We would not live limited lives devoid of meaning – searching for solace in false religions. There would not be prophets of doom and godmen in all parts of the world.

Till nirvana remains elusive, let me pray for a mutation- Avatar, personal and collective.

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Posted by Sunil on December 4, 2008

By Sunil Kumar

“The past and the future is where we spend most of our lives. In fact what you are going through in this small microcosm of ours is the disorienting feeling of having stepped for a few hours into the present”… Salman Rushdie, The Moor’s Last Sigh.

Salman Rushdie once said, “I hate admitting my enemies have a point.” Growing up in a newly independent India in the 50s and the 60s, Rushdie is very much like the midnight’s children he won the Booker prize for.

Mixing Indian metaphors with global abstraction comes easy to Rushdie. Not easily accessible at first, Rushdie is a writer who captivates the reader with the broad sweep of his imagination and the sheer audacity of challenging the fundamentalist establishment. Another interesting facet is the eclectic mix of ideas that he draws from and projects in his fiction. Shades of Don Quixote, magic realism and caricatures of a living breathing reality.

The fatwa made him famous. Rajiv Gandhi’s India banned him instantly and the Ayatollah Khomeini made him a pariah in the Islamic world. How did Rushdie live through those traumatic times?

Sir Salman Rushdie said in a Telegraph interview that he plunged into despair when the fatwa was declared and says that it “erased” his personality.

He adds, “The thing about hitting the bottom is then you know where the bottom is…And after that, it cleared things up in my head… One of the things it cleared up was an urge in my mind, which is that everybody should like me.”


“That was the moment at which I stopped being the prisoner of that thing, because I thought, OK, there are people who are not going to like me and do you know what, I don’t like them.”

Rushdie always reminisces about Bombay post-independence when he thought the city was going through a kind of golden age, an Indian Camelot, where he was the knight in shining armour.

The city and its multiple identities inspire Rushdie – a miasma of illusions, the mecca of Indian dreams, sleaze lightnin’!!!

For specific feedback on this post or the blog feel free to send in comments at: ideasmyblog

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My Left Foot- Today’s Film Review

Posted by Sunil on November 19, 2008

By Sunil Kumar


    1970s German angst is brought to the screen in an endless orgy of sex and violence.


From start to finish, the Baader-Meinhof Complex is an intriguing ride through ten years of post WWII West German history. Based on the German terrorist group, the Red Army Faction (RAF) that planned bombings, hijacks and kidnappings in the 60s and the 70s, the movie takes a long, hard look at life on the ‘dark side’ of the political divide.

The movie is a dramatic exposé of the life of Ulrike Meinhof, who worked originally as a left-wing journalist and was co-founder of the Red Army Faction(RAF). Although the movie is riveting in parts, it sometimes loses focus and becomes a sleaze fest. Balancing informative storytelling with commercial considerations is a tough ask for any art, but writer and producer Bernd Eichenger, somehow falls short.

A snapshot of the 60s and 70s, the ‘Baader-Meinhof’ complex makes an earnest attempt to capture the spirit of the era. Students in 1967 Berlin get their first lesson in police brutality when protesting against the Shah of Iran. The police are nonchalant and firing after a baton-charge by armed forces leaves a protester dead. This catalyses journalist Meinhof(Martina Gedeck) into action as she inches closer to firebrand leader Andreas Baader, played by Moritz Bleibtreu.

The movie plods on with nude beaches, hippy-chicks sunbathing in the desert and socialist arguments inspired by Mao Tse-Tung. Endless gore and violence tend to put off a discerning viewer. We don’t need a documentary, but more dramatic sequences like the Stammheim court trial in which Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader were tried would have added more zing to an endless montage of risqué visuals.

For specific feedback on this post or the blog feel free to send in comments at: ideasmyblog


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