I think I am a pretty hopeless writer and it has got nothing to do with my writing. It has all got to do with my thinking. I can’t seem to hold on to a thought for more than a moment. My mind at the moment is like a sponge full of water. Its heavy and feels pregnant. It can’t take anything new without throwing out something. I have a good mind to throw it into the dustbin and start again. I feel I am too full of opinions, pre conceived notions and conclusions Before someone even starts to speak, I have already guessed it from the ‘non verbal signals’ (demeanour, background etc) what the person is going to say and I have already come to my conclusion. It doesn’t matter then what the person has to say, my reaction is ready on the basis of what my mind has told me.  This is not just for personal conversations, it is also true for news incidents.

Like for example this merger that is being planned between MTN (in south africa) and Bharti (in India). I know in my mind where this is going. I can see that the governments have gotten involved. The heads of both companies have clout in their respective governments and both governments it seems are willing to bend to let this merger happen. No one is talking about how this merger is going to be successful. How will the different cultures of the two organisations meet. What is being talked about is how the merger will create the third largest telecom company. Even a first grader can do the maths if he is told – A has 2 phones, B has 3 phones. If A and B were to put their phones together how many phones do they become.  Sure the boy can’t talk about synergies, but neither can the media. I know this merger is going to happen, the media is going to celebrate it as another sign of India’s success in the global arena and then they are going to move onto to the next charade. But I have very serious doubts if this can have a long term future.

One word I hear worryingly too much these days is efficiency savings. Most political leaders include this in their speeches. It is hard to see a powerpoint these days without this phrase. It is to me the buzzword for the credit crunched and outsourced world. If I was to remember this year, five years on, I would remember this as the year of the efficiency savings. This was the year when you just had to use this phrase and you caught everyone’s attention. Even I, in my all knowing ways, had never imagined that this would become a fad.

If I stretch my mind to its limit, I can maybe remember this year as also the year of the Chinese ghost. This world in recent history has known many ghosts. It has know the communist ghost, the japanese ghost and now it is the Chinese ghost. Couple of a weeks ago I sat through a 101 on the south china sea and how China has captured land illegally from Vietnam. Then there was this whole media hype in India over the so called Chinese incursions. Earlier in the year was the huge trade imbalances in the favour of China. Coming next month is the 60th anniversary party of the communist party. I have no way of knowing whether China did make incursions into India, if it killed Vietnamese fishermen or if it fudges its numbers to understate its trade surpluses.

I guess even the sponge has its limits !

I promised myself after my last post that I will not blog in this year. I am on a holiday and I promised myself to leave my mind at the nearest dustbin, sorry recycling centre. I didn’t. That with the fact that I have not made single promise in my life that I haven’t been tempted to break. So the mind which refuses to go on a holiday combined with the thrill of breaking a promise and hence this post.

Before I get into my major rant, first a mini rant. The holiday is happening in India and I now believe more than ever before that as much as I feel connected to this land, I feel disconnected with most Indians. I never understood them before, and to be fair they never understood me, and now I wonder how we share the same nationality. But more of this in another post.

And so the drama endeth this week The drama of whodunit in Mumbai. India started to blame Pakistan within hours of the attack and Pakistan around the same time started to deny it , blame Hindu terrorists or both. And then India mounted this so called diplomatic offensive to put pressure on Pakistan. The net result of it was one organisation got banned, Zardari came under even more pressure and the country united against the common convenient enemy. All this while the army was playing the card of an imminent Indian attack.

All this masked the problems inside India. Walking in the streets of different cities in India I heard more than one person say lets attack them and finish it once and for all, lets do what the US did after 9/11, lets do this, lets do that. What disturbs me more than these opinions is how we look to resolve very complex issues with simplistic solutions. And the problem is not with the people, but also starts with the government who I hope knows better than what gets bandied around by ministers. The media doesn’t ask the right questions and dutifully toes the government line, the opposition looks to score cheap political points and the people of the country have no one to turn to.

So when the end of the drama came this week no one saw it coming. When it did end the media was confused as was everyone else. I think the government ran a fantastic propaganda program which successfully diverted the attention to external factors. Now that program has come to an end as there is general acceptance that even if Pakistan is to blame there is not going to be much concrete action.

Will the government now muster up the courage to focus on internal issues. Do we even know what are those internal issues ? Does this government have in it to jump over one last hurdle of its 5 year sprint or will it run around it ? My cynical mind says the government will do a lot of song and dance, some window dressing and hope for the best at the elections. So watch out for another propaganda campaign starting soon at a newspaper near you.

I really need to get rid of my mind !

Growing up I took some things in my life as granted. I remember telling myself not to take anything granted in life, but that didn’t go too far. Slowly I started to add to this list. I knew they were part of my granted list and I didn’t see it as a problem because some were my passions and I told myself what is a life worth living if I have no time for my passions. As I walked home today on a cold sunny evening I was thinking of these things in my life that I have taken for granted. Its difficult and a bit embarassing for me to come up with the entire list so I shall take out the few top ones.

Among the things that were there in the original list was reading in its entirety except the schoolbook type. So I would love to read anything from a newspaper, to a fiction novel to the back of a cornflake box in desperate times ! I had time for both the current affairs and literature and I wanted both in my life. Another thing that got added onto the list later was writing. When I started to blog I discovered that writing brought me peace. It didnt really matter what I wrote, as long as I wrote it was fine. One more thing that I always took for granted was that I will live in a reasonably hot climate. I am ok living with cold winter for a couple of months, but then I need my sun, I need my heat and I need my sweat.

I now live in London where I lead a much fast paced life than before and the weather continues to be cold for ever and ever. The problem with living in london and leading a fast paced life is three fold – one, ofcourse there is very little time to read and that gets allocated to current affairs to keep abreast with the world. Two, when i read a book I like my mind to quieten down and focus on the book and that doesn’t seem to happen. Everytime I try to quiten down a million other things swim through my head. Three, there is so much to do in London every single day , so my reading just tends to get edged out.

Writing is one thing that I had stopped but now I have restarted and this is the one stop shop for my rants. Again because my mind refuses to quiten I can only write in a certain way. I long to get to my carefree writing..

As for the cold, this time last year the  barbeques were out and this year the snow is out in its full glory. I can’t remember the last time when i felt warm in my bones, when I felt the sweat run down my back, when a glass of cold water felt refreshing.

So apart from the cold, which I can’t do anything about, the main issue still sits in my mind. Where my mind runs at a furiously fast pace and refuses to heel when I say so. It seems to have a life of its own and I am tired of waiting for it to stop. My book pile grows higher and higher.

Quiet. Shh.

I have been on a hiatus from blogging for almost 7 months now.  Funnily though I haven’t missed blogging. My life has been more or less the same as it was during my blogging days. The only difference being that instead of my thoughts being written down, they would sit in my head for as long as they could until something else came edged them out. In those rare moments when I had free time these thoughts would come out and stand before me and allow me to make sense of them. Yes I did think of blogging, but I thought of it as I would think of a play I wanted to catch, a book I wanted to read. If I got it, it would be nice and if I didn’t I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

I have got it now and it does feel nice.  I am suddenly thinking of all these things that I have wanted to write about. There are so many tales that I want to tell.Tales from my life, of people far and near, of happenings good and bad, of highs and lows. I like the word tale. Its very unpretentious, non-serious and uncontroversial. It lets me have fun. It lets me say anything. Hopefully it will also let me feel anything. I like working backwards, it helps me push through things with myself much more easily.

Hiatus ends.

When I decide on a title of my blog , I usually stumble on the title first which I really like and then work backwards on justifying the title to myself. So this, my first post in this blog, is an explanation to myself about the title.

I have always wanted to tell tales. Take a fact, a news story, a discussion or even an idea  give it a shake in my head add some spice to it, a context to it and a tale develops. I call it a tale because the final product has as much in common to the original fact as I have to me when I was a year old.  Get it ? The tales I tell stem from events near me as from events half away around the world or even the galaxy. The events of far ostensibly don’t affect me but that is before they become a tale of far.  A tale of far lets me to believe that I am a global soul and that I am affected by events everywhere.

This blog, like my previous blog is an exercise in understanding myself. Of throwing new thoughts and ideas inside my mind and writing down all that comes out. As I read the tales that come out I hope to discover a pattern, a single thread in the complex weave. I hope to discover me.