Having grown up reading "Inside Outside" without missing an issue, I have been missing all my special Indian artifacts related shopping and all the special designs and covers on the beds and Indian paintings and wall hangings. The house in Germany was decorated in a fusion of IKEA furniture with Indian artifacts look and has served us well. However, it was time to start a new project.
I have been living, the last two years, in an apartment devoid of any artistic work or any of the extra pieces of decos that come to reflect a person's interests. It has been a sort of reflection on the kind of life I had been leading the last 2 years - a life where there were spaces which were screaming to be filled, spaces where colours added or character added could make life much more comfortable.
"Mr. Selby started the project, he said, because of his curiosity about the ways personal space reflects personality. “I’ll see an interesting character and think, what does their apartment look like?” he said."
There are people he has touched on who love to collect things and then find the place to put them in and then there are people who share the apartment with people who collect things. Nevertheless, both situations appeal to my earliest instincts of collecting articles - an instinct that has been put on hold until I took a decision about whether I will start making my Brussels home more comfortable (well, I did not know how long I would stay - so I had kept it hanging) or until I found more space in my Germany apartment. So it was that things I had never seen before to things I had seen many times but had forgotten in the hussle and bussle of life caught my attention. These included what I could do on a stairway (note that I have none in the house - but perhaps I could do the same in a common stairway or in a future apartment sometime later in life) and a way to decorate my refrigerator and still make it stand out with the character that is just uniquely me. There were ideas on how to use the walls without really drilling any nails into them (another nightmare due to which my walls in Brussels have looked bare).
Now that I am looking at expressing my bizarre interest in collecting home decoration pieces this website can give me a rainbow of ideas to tap into how I can keep a house interesting - even in a chaotic way if I want.
Perhaps this is a type of voyeurism or perhaps it is a type of plagarism - but what is an artistic life if there is not a bit of borrowing ideas - if you disagree, you could discuss with Anu Mallik.
We have double of everything. Two living room sets, two dining tables, two refrigerators, 3 beds, 2 washing machines... and we keep wondering when we get back together what do we do? I say take mine and he says let us keep ours. So it was really nice to see a good idea on what we can do with 2 washing machines.
Having a family in the US ensures that I am completely involved in the US election activities. With a sister volunteering as a County Chairperson for the Obama Campaign, I hear about every up and down and the emotional upheavals in the life of Obama volunteers. I have heard her argue strongly for Obama long before Obama was a known force and a few older generations indulging the young blood "fantasies". Sometimes when the elders in the Indian Diaspora started getting into heated debates with her, my father would step in to support Obama in his own calm way.
All through this, my little nephew maintained his own independent view - he was for Hilary Clinton and subsequently for Sarah Palin. At this age he already knew his preferences and where beauty lay in his eyes.
So two days back there was an election in his school and the small children had to select their own President. He came back home holding a few electoral knick knacks.
My mother: "So what happened in school today?"
Nephew: "We elected the President"
My mother: "You voted?"
Nephew: "Yeah". (He is quite a silent person and you have to dig out the details if you are one of the family - much to my family's consternation, if anyone else other than family asks there will come a barrage of details).
My mother: "So whom did you vote for?" (In her mind she was sure it was going to be the McCain-Palin ticket).
Nephew: "I voted for Obama".
My mother was delighted - finally perhaps all the discussions at home had paid off and he had stopped paying attention to the X factor. - "Why?"
Nephew: "Mommy likes Obama and does work for Obama".
Well, I think his girl friends or wife will have a stiff competition going ahead.
There is always a good reason why we are built the way we are. So we feel pain in order to take protective actions against the pain... we feel cold in order to ensure we keep ourselves warm and protected against getting ill and when you do not feel anything you do not take preventive actions until it is too late - so you are stuck in bed on a Saturday evening unable to do anything other than read or type a blog if you are an extrovert reaching out for sympathy.
So here I was reading the article by Gary Stix about "Jacking into the Brain". The article talks about a movie that is being made "The Singularity is Near" which talks about achieving immortality "by transferring a digital blueprint of the brain into the computer or robot". He then likens this to an "avatar trapped inside a television set". He also talks about "transfer of self" to this avatar and "shifting internal emotional palette" constantly.
All of a sudden, the avatar I had created in yahoo popped up in my mind. Is this the avatar that I really would like to be associated with my immortal footprint that I leave behind? If I think about "leaving" a footprint behind, is that immortality? - is immortality again linked to the Phases in our life? Then again, being a Hindu and believing that we are born again aren't we already talking about immortality? I wondered whether I can chose which type of "data" about myself I could transfer to this avatar.
Similar to the procedure when I created the avatar in yahoo - or the "Wi" where we chose a desired hair style and colour could even the emotional blueprint be decided and chosen? If so, the immortal one that I leave behind could be a desired state that I leave behind.
I come from a country where trying to achieve Immortality is built into all the mythological work as well as into the religion itself. The Dasavatharam talks about the churning of the ocean, Ksheera Sagara, by the asuras(demons) and the devas (gods) to get the "Amrutham" (in malayalam), the nectar that ensures immortality. All the saints and the yogis pray with great devotion for years and many seek to attain immortality. Here atleast Immortality sought was purely with the intention of always living and since this was not solved, there was no question of chosing what form of oneself you wanted transmitted.
From all those literature and thoughtful times we have reached an actionable state - we are an action based generation now thinking of transferring dreams into concrete actionable items to be solved through scientific means. Now we are putting in place Science "still fiction" concepts. Knowing that a lot of science fiction written decades ago are now reality, I am beginning to now think we are not far from attaining this immortality - though immortality is just a question of how we define it.
The article also talks about downloading information into the brain from other sources - downloading "War and Peace" or "how to fly a helicopter" into the brain and connecting the neural networks to use this information. Is this language dependent? Suddenly I felt like even biology and biological research was becoming more like an enterprise software development project with similar issues and questions coming up. The thought of end-to-end processes being looked into and benefits of what should be downloaded in which format or language. The power of the new generation of thinking suddenly stood out in my mind. Computers were built to deal with issues and to automate and the same theory was being used to now understand the ultimate computer.
Suddenly I started feeling uncomfortable and longed for the articles on Particle Physics where people are still searching for things that we do not even know exist and which could be used to not only explain how things are working but also find new ways to use these possible "things to be found" for new research to find even newer things - a never ending loop and a never ending hope. Just a pure immortality of research that keeps on going.
So here are all the thoughts which are hardly coherent and I shall not even strive to make it coherent - so after sometime of jumping from one thought to another I decided that my brain is just getting stressed - there was no download of structured information created by someone else into my brain - so not being structured even in my healthy moments, I decided to abandon the effort to get structured this evening. After all, in future, I can just download all this structured and written by a thoughtful structured person directly into my avatar's head or perhaps it could be that even this incoherent post could be downloaded and the neurons could be wired in a way that this can be structured automatically. We have really become a very computerized world .. sigh.
And finally, let me tell you that it is frustrating to google for "Dasavatharam" as in its original form from the mythological story or religious texts and find instead only links to a movie by Kamalahasan.
I have been thinking of writing this for a long time but a conversation last evening brought it forth again and I decided to let the poison out.
Everyone I meet who has seen Mamma Mia has so far liked it. I did not. I have been trying to figure out ever since I left the theatre why this is so. I do not hate ABBA - on the contrary there are even some songs which have the charm that I like and I play multiple times when the CD is playing.
Yet, when the first few scenes played out I thought that it looked more like a school play converted to movie. Heidi, who is a fan of the Mamma Mia play and has seen the movie commented "Have you seen the play? Perhaps that is the reason." - no I have not seen the play.
When the actors started with the first song, I felt it was different from the original (maybe the seeing the actors made the difference). I could stand most of the songs that the female actors sang. Yet when - Pierce Brosnan, my favourite actor since Remington Steele days, started in his voice the disappointment was strengthened but this happened quite late into the movie.
I had gone for the movie with my parents-in-law and Parmanu and in Germany. The Germans around me enjoyed it and so did my family - laughing at the right moments, tapping along at the right moments. I sat frozen and frigid in between all the revelry even Chiquitita not warming my heart and nothing making me let go off the British STIFF Upper Lip - not even Colin Firth, another actor I like. As I walked out of the movie, I tried to understand why I could not enjoy. Parmanu said "maybe you are still not able to let go of your mood". Perhaps as I told Heidi a few weeks back, I should watch it again.
So when I met someone who is not a fan of ABBA and he said he liked the movie - I just decided that I must have been a priggish purist not letting myself go and perhaps I was still hung up in the cloud that had enveloped me for a few months.