Thursday, April 7, 2016

Being (a rich) Human:

The more money you have.. the more you are inclined to capitalism.
Do not wash this feeling; It is not a guilt. Capitalism is the most 'natural' philosophy. Earn as much as you deserve.
What you do with your money, depends on your sense of life. If it is shallow, you will not enjoy full returns on your hard earned money.
What is shallow? No one can explain for you Its your past and your upbringing that decides.
If you attempt to feign being a socialist, driving for humanitarian causes, you are just satisfying the bit of pinch, that richness gave you. the glory that you get is not long lasting. But if you managed to change another's life, perhaps that would be rewarding.
(as long as you expect no return on such investment its ok.)
Whichever path you choose, you work for yourself. The more influential shall always rise the weaker perish.
There is still one path to personal satisfaction..which is do the least harm to others, when you earn your dough. It may not leave you filthy rich in $$$ ..yet you will not roll in your grave for misdeeds or trampling another's aspirations.
...For humanity sake.. think about what you do as a human..not what religion asks.. ...For humanity sake.. think about what you do as a human..not what religion asks.. Religion is fake..based on what the multitude wants to hear, without argument. No rules and laws dictated..
Important that you live for yourself and do not go overboard..
(Not sure why I write such stuff. It just evolves around my current thoughts) so pl bear with the artist.... smile emoticon
Perhaps its the end of schindler's list that is deep set in the brain..With few more gold I could save few more?
or perhaps it is the empty bowl of water and grains that I left for the birds tells me.. When I am away they come and drink
I do not need to see them.. to vouch it has not evaporated.
I leave a bit more for the nest day to watch the spoils. I owe a bit of my earnings to the birds. They play no politics!
Note: I am for capitalism (since the days, when I had very less dough)..Just a odd man out..perhaps there are more

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Parvati- Taljai cross country-..My most loved playground to train for the mountains

Probably, I may have been the pioneer, as I talk about 1989-1992 time frame. The place was a bit scary..I know at least one case of murder And lot of robbery.. A bit about my daily routine

It is almost 6:15PM, when theTATA motors bus reaches home. There is still time to do a hill run. I scramble up the dusty stairs to my room for a quick change of clothes. Dressed in a Cotton tennis T-shirt and cotton shorts size 9 Bata Power shoes I ride on my Ind Suzuki, to the Parvati Hillock. Ignoring, the (unofficial) guy who asks for parking ticket, I start with my usual warmup i.e. climb the stairs towards the temple. Snubbing the crowd, I run towards the backside of the temple and start the hill run. It has now been a routine for a month, as I prepare for an expedition.
The parvati watertanks towards my right are leaking water and I do my usual skip on the stones, without wetting my shoes. As I veer to my right, the small stone quarry I start up the slope of the first hillock. People are planting saplings. Few carry cans of water to the top. The hot wind rustles the few grown saplings and I wonder, will these guys keep up. The hill is otherwise just gravel and stones. I come to a slight descend in a col and then bounce up the second hill and then run towards the third. The sun has almost set on my right. The tin roofs of the slums shines in a pale orange, the river, shines, with a bleak claim, that it still has the right to flow through Pune. The hills beyond are darker.
I come to the third hill. There is a young man on the top, around his mid-thirties. I have seen him here often. He does not run or walk, but he sits there alone, observing the sunset. While he relishes on the diminishing light, I am challenged by the thought of running through darkness. At Waghjai temple I take left and scramble into Taljai forest zone. This plateau is bleak but there is a clump of greens higher up. I cut straight through the forest. There is some dirt track that loops but still under construction. I do bit of steeple chase through the trees and branches on this small narrow goat path. Something moves in the bushes by my side. A peacock ‘meaows ‘ deep in the shrubs.
Within the entire month I have noticed hardly 4-5 people in this area. There is no one today. Through this daily run, I trample upon all the negative feelings and focus on my performance. I exist alone and there is no one to beat. I should be very strong, as strong as needed for a climber to be. As I increase my speed up slope, gasping for breath I come to the taljai park. Few kids from the slum are around. I do some quick Swedish exercises and start on my way back through the forest. Something moves in the bushes. It’s a down slope and I gather more speed..Its Waghjai temple again.
Since its dark I cannot do the hillocks again while returning and I run along the shahu college track. Few other runners training for the marathon, give me a chase. I cannot give up to someone from a road race. The climber rises and I sprint to the water tanks and up the Parvati. I am in a BLAH mood. All the people have returned and this is just my time. The wall underneath the temple is virgin. I sneak up to half of it and do some traverse moves. It is a good rock. I get down as soon as I see thee watchman.
Jog back down Parvati to my Bike.
My routine practice can get hampered that even a 10 minute delay in my bus time can ruin my training. The return run is done almost in darkness, with the limited night vision that I possess. But never did I fall or even stumble.
Many years later I revisited Taljai. The place has drastically changed from the barren landscape to a dense shrubbery. A hill run at 7PM inside the loops may be bit risky without a torch. But we have quite a crowd on thiss hill now-a-days.
There have been other hill runs but nothing has ever been the same to my Parvati-Taljai- Ambegaon hill runs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My first coach

"This boy has a terrible handwriting. The horizontal line in "A" is slanted.."H" is inclined"." Complained my Engineering drawing teacher to his supervisor.
I was already miserable, as he would not sign my Engineering drawing sheets for what he thought was not up-to the mark. This was the third time, I redrew the sheets.
The "Provost" was ill famed for his temper and I was one in direct line of fire for being the worst of the Four.
M.G.G. looked at my sheets and then looked at the provost. "I do not see anything bad with his sheets. Good job.".

The "Provost" was quick to reply, "It's only because he drew it for the third time.". By doing so opening a gate to further humiliation.

"Why should everyone have a nice handwriting? What does it fetch?"..I had wondered. I remembered my early years in school. "Ram Milan Singh", the teachers bamboo cane, had delivered the juiciest, for bad handwriting.
I had just switched to the fountain pen from my Graphite pencil.

M.G.G. asked, "What do you want to be?". The question from my mentor brought me back to the present. I was dumb. I had forgotten dreaming. Let alone dreaming, I forgot to think freely!

I muttered, " A Draftsman." If my Handwriting is not that great, it seemed a tall aim.
"And then?", He continued to ask. I mused, " Perhaps, A designer?"
"And Then?", he asked again. I felt very shy and embarassed, "Engineer". I spoke the unthinkable.
"And then" he continued till I had no dreams..I had no answer.

The "Provost" of my prison was observing the dialogue between the worst student and his Boss. He was confused. As an instructor, he thought that I did not deserve that kind of talk, till my handwriting was good enough for him.

During that 30 min dialog, my coach had worked on me to ask for a taller goal. Build confidence and give me , ability to dream. One ray of hope kindled in the dark cell for a 16 year old boy, away from his home. There were other unfortunate souls, who did not get M.G.G's guidance.

Or perhaps it is also true, "Not everyone can be coached."

For people like me, its is the power of a question versus an 'instruction'. (Direction). To one who rebels, you could ask questions? The coach invested in me for future. No direct measurements of my performance.

My Instructor directed..Must Do.. OR  Black sheep.

When you drive a workforce,  Are you being an instructive manager?
I wonder; How many lives were ruined for need to improve handwriting and line work. And many such mundane tasks that fetch marks, but get you nothing in life.

It seems so ridiculous, today, when you have CAD to give you finest output and even drawings can be redundant, the "trade", for which I trained is almost obsolete. Handwriting can be anything..the mind that thinks fast and the hand cannot keep up with..will have weird handwriting.

Design is a trade that can never die. My pride is, what I designed, works and can be seen on the roads in many vehicles. The drawings may have been not "upto mark". But they convey design for  good things.

The coaching asked me to think, where I want to be. So I may have to dream and answer the question at every point in my life. If I gave him an answer to please him and get over with the ordeal, there would be no future questioning, to get better!

You may want to ask the same. Do you feel stuck in a rut? What do you do about it?
Why do you feel the "rut" is a "rut"? Can you do anything better with the "rut"?
Why a "problem" is a "Problem"? Do you not have the power to search for an answer? Or must you ask and get answered back , "Good Question?" and get back a stupid answer which already is in your mind.

Must you seek confirmation for everything? Your talent?
Do you seek a certificate for everything i.e. to be "recorded" as good?

What M.G.G said to me, I still extend to everyday life. I just need to work on problem till I have all possible solutions.
The choice of the solution does not always have to be correct. Few of my friends see as a "failed decision".
I am perfectly fine if I did not get their "Certificate".
However, I am still frustrated with few decisions I make, as I may forget the situations around them.
Also, I have forgotten a bit to Dream. I should tell myself to do it at times.. Then work on it.

P.S: M.G.G. was very innovative, when teaching. He is still loved by his students. ,I perhaps, took one more thing from him i.e. Sketching humans, which I had thought the most difficult thing to do. When students were at work, he used to sketch one of us.
MGG is one of the strong reasons, I sketch today! Or even that I became an artist so late in life!

Sunday, January 17, 2016


A month to SCMM..I laze in Nagpur, feasting on bengali sweets for an entire week..Absolutely no running.
After getting back to Pune I did a 13 km on racecourse..No harm done..The body can still take it.

Fun starts after a week. It is Shin splints this time. Calves get stiff in a usual 9 km run at racecourse. 
A frozen shoulder that cribs now and then. Life is pain! Aging and cribbing.
Graceful aging? my foot.

A week before SCMM.. I do one round of racecourse  (of which I walk a quarter), It is just 2.2km loop. The body has rebelled, as it was not used. (Or perhaps I overused it in one stiff position  to stand and paint the large canvas). I mail my friends of a 90% dropout chance. 
I focus on another large painting and give the body absolutely no exercise (apart from standing for 6 hrs and paint.

I repair my treadmill and give it a go... no pain (for a while). “If I can take pain during the run, its OK. Perhaps I might take 6 hrs to complete.” ‘Ability to take pain ‘...Zatopek come to mind.
To play safe, I am wearing compression sleeve even at work.

Pain reduces. Friends are pressing. Sujit resends me his last years blog..his mention of how he missed Umesh and me. We have been together for so many years and absence of one  is painful. (I skipped my last SCMM due to a small accident, as my Toe twisted and got swollen.) I have decided to give it a shot, enjoy with my PTC friends.

As the pain reduces, the 5:45 mark comes back to my mind. Crazy mind disillusioned by goals. I decide to keep the goal shoved at the back of my mind..Perhaps I can still do it, but not at the cost of another injury.

Pre Marathon dinner is at Amdar Niwas. I feast on a Fish Thali. As a ritual, we take snaps of the food and message them to friends not attending the marathon. A teaser for what they miss.
Before sleep, a digene and a combiflam.

By 4 AM the body feels supple and “God” has given me a painless window to bear the arduous run.

I join the queue of runners moving to the start point. It is dark..I try saving my bare feet. I switch on music. (It is a deviation to keep the mind occupied ..if pain returns.
4:45 bus I ts something I should keep behind. Maybe, I should stay ahead of 4:30 bus. A gradual warmup has changed the “target” to what seems promising.

The Sea link..15 km+ I removed my T shirt and wrapped it like a cloak. (Who knows me in Mumbai!)

The 4:30 bus drones behind me.  I shoot ahead again. At the end of the sea link, I can’t keep up with the pace and slow down. All along, I ran alone. When I feel weak, Mangesh glides with me ..At points I remember my eyes welling up with tears, that I suppress with deep breath. We had planned to run together and we do that many a times A parallel run in different worlds.

Worli Seaface. 4:45 bus has overtaken me. A group of runners catch up. “Run with Milind”. I watch the Adonis running besides me. They overtake me. I have been consuming water, Enerzal at every booth. Yet I notice some level of crampiness in my thighs. I take a fast walk as this kind of stretching is useful. Milnd Soman is now back with me. I glance at his feet. Vibrams with a cut for Fingers.
I do not know what to talk with a celebrity. I continue with my solitude. Girls cheer at him , get water bottles which he declines. I can understand the cost of glamour. What I pick from him is the way he glides.  I reduce my stride and it improves my efficiency.

I start walk run. It prevents cramps. Ash Nath is besides me. This gentleman met me in Bangalore when I was limping with the glass in my foot. He is with me again. Gives me a tip again. ‘It’s just 9 kms. Roll it in your mind again and again. You can do this easily.’

I chant this mantra and develop a jog. I run up all the way on the dreaded flyover.
Marine drive where the sun hits , the road gets ugly for barefeet. I know why Milind wore cut vibrams. The 5 hr bus crossed me. I jog only as much as I can. 
“Pendharkar Saheb!” It’s my Free runner friend Rupesh calling me with a humorous note. “Lets run 3 poles Walk one pole”. I run 3 poles walk one. Then decide to keep running. 

Turn for Churchgate. Run with Amit Seth for sometime. A van with Movie camera is shooting the end. Cramps come back as soon as I increase pace and I run thru the finish line. Take a chair pull out the mobile. Switch on SCMM 2016 app. I timed 5:02:45

I feel Happy to have run and given it my best. I re-learn not to decide targets or plan too much in ahead.
There is always a window of chance.

The best cheering boards that I read during SCMM

"Did you hear

"Touch to recharge"

A note for running free:

I ran bare chested today. May feel awkward to some. I have just one family pack to display, so it was certainly NOT to lure attention. I find ..I am NOT a runner. I am more an artist.
I wanted to FEEL FREE and I feel this was the right expression, in the heat of the day. Yeah.. When I hit the The sea link was bit of chill.
I tried to get way ahead of the 4:30 bus But it drove me what I lack.
Statistics apart.. (I saw 3 other bare chested men) ..I should say..It was one of the happiest runs in my life. ( As an artist, I know that the Nudism day was just a day before).Free expression is more imp. Thanks for bearing with me as a blot of the scene. But I think..(and dare you).. you should try it some day..To nurture the freerunner in you.
It really feels great. (and natural).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Social pressure

At the start of the new year, everyone around me seems to be setting new targets. End of the year in proving their mettle. (I think I did it too, publishing the best of my paintings).

It has been a ritual : many of these friends, their wishes die quick. Few who stick around perhaps due to the social media pressure, they shall keep posting to show that they live to their wish. An iota of the whole lot, sticks to their resolutions, fueled by the carrot of their own dreams.

But, the real lot, dreams and makes them real and there is no steam spent on Talk, social updates, but on Real work on their dream.
(No. I do not belong to this lot as I am writing all about it to post on FB/G+ .)

I recall, that I used to resort to social media to maintain pressure on myself to keep up with my runs and my drawing, rather than spend time watching TV and lazing around. This has worked for me. the only time I 'waste' now, is when I sleep. I was much laid back to try a sketch a day, before Facebook arrived. Then, there was one such forum ‘1 sketch a day’, that started it all.
Social media can be a blessing i.e. if you use it to develop and appreciate the world around you.

Unfortunately, most of us spend too much time bitching , ‘knowing’ too much and watching the dark side of the moon, fencing the "shwartz's" in the name of your King..defending territories..But not much in creativity....Blah Blah…..
Uhh..Resolutions! I forgot..

I trust in continuous progress..overcoming failure (strain points), when it feels like. No force! You always have a large margin with the best, at what you chose as 'Hobbies'..(the things that you do for fun). Important, that I get fun out of everything I do perhaps, by changing the way I do ‘things’.
I get lesser "fun" in a race as I am not born to race. . I DO NOT believe in scientific measure of progress and checking the targets with actual. It is for robots not for human beings. Rebellious?

It may be ok for starters, as a discipline. OR it also depends, on who, you want to shine your beam of achievements upon. My kids have taught me lot more important lesson. They mention that they never want to top in the class. They would be raising my expectations by doing too much and develop pressure upon themselves and further run the rat race. (They, I observe, keep more pressure on themselves than not “competing, and knowing what is good for them.”)

A rank brings in pressure due to the recognition that you did best sometime back.. but you become desperate to keep up with it. This is bonded labor to Social pressure.

You would not race if you were alone? You would just run or even walk..!

I wish, I was a silent, lone spectator of my own game, but, the artist screams to express and let the world know. Perhaps it’s the age that allows me to express only the creative part of it. I found my refuge in creativity. I hate to set targets to be “more creative”. It ought to happen by practice AND by being in circles of more creative people. The more I meet, the better.

My work would reflect the people I have met. I learn to be that kind of mirror.