Monday, October 1, 2007

Preta/Pitri Pakshya...Tribute to Forgotten Yesterdays

Bitched on by the luminaries Sun and Moon about Rahu drinking Amrita, in the disguise of  a Deva, Lord Vishnu spent his Sudarshan Chakra flying. The Chakra severed Rahu's head from its body at the orgasmic moment of consumption of Amrita, the nectar of immortality. The traumatic separation and longing of the headless corpse's longing for its head is the essence of Ketu. Ketu seeks to reconnect us with our lost roots/ identities. Our forgotten/ separtaed other half.

 PRETA PAKSHYA .... a Time to remember
The waxing lunar phase (Sukla pakshya) signified by Durga Navaratra is called Devi Pakshya. It is considered ideal for all kinds of  new beginnings. The 14 day period before this, waning lunar phase (krishna pakshya) leading to Mahalaya Amabashya represents PITRI/ PRETA PAKSHYA. It is ideal for offering swardha, tarpan, memorial rituals, and tribute towards ancestors and departed near and dear ones. This 14 day Ketuvean period is the IDEAL time to remember departed souls and pay silent, symbolic tribute to them. Remember our ancestors, without whom WE WOULDNT EXIST. To remember the haunting memoirs of our forgotten yesterdays.
The word
Preta (ghost/ spirit) comes from the word Prayaata (deceased/ departed/ the past). The hindi word Bhoot meaning ghosts comes from the sanskrit word Bhutam meaning the past. Pretas (ghost/ spirit), Prayaata (deceased/ departed/ the past),  Bhutam (the past) is the root/ foundation for our present existence.

 Hence not only during Preta/Pitri Pakshya but in the hustle bustle of our daily lives, let us always spare some silent moments in memoriam of our forgotten yesterdays, faded histories. Such a simple Ketu ritual would ensure us silent blessings from our forgotten foundations/ yesterdays.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Deconstructing Shillong...

SHILLONG: Introduction
Since my earliest childhood visits with Kong Mai (my Khasi nanny), my favourite land of pine, mist, mystery, enchantment has always been Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. The enchanting magical memories of buying my first DC comics: (1stIssues of Firestorm and Steel) at Shillong. Running away from school with fellow inmates to Shillong, (100 kms from my hometown Guwahati). Those singular days of escapade consisted of early morning escape, a day of wanderlust: buying enchanting comics, cassettes, eating exotic food, and a hastened return to our hometown. Managing breathlessly somehow to reach before dusk... all in school uniform! My recent adult visits to Shillong have similarly always been for a day, in huge groups for a breathless spree of eating out, rock shows, and shopping. The one-day-frenzy in Shillong being over we returned zapped to our hometown. Somewhere the enchanted magic of 'Shillong' was missing from the Shillong visits.

Since Sonal's house is in Shillong, (Mriganka and his wife Sonal together form Desire Machine, (a collaborative for films/ art work/ installations etc), (, they invited me to Shillong, I was indeed quite pleased. For this represented an opportunity to find the missing Shillong inside Shillong.

SHILLONG, Deconstruction: What I've found in subsequent visits to Shillong is there is no fixed Shillong in Shillong. As much as there is no Adim in me. The contextual shift is so enormous. The Deconstructive shift: two visits of the same place, two readings of the same book show an identity that can only be defined as difference. From the moment the book repeats iteslf, its self identity recieves an imperceptible difference. The book/place is not repeatable in it's "identity". Each reading of the book, each revisit of the place produces a simulacrum of the original. Hence Adim-2126C was visiting Shillong 3240ab.

As the Shillong I visited was the simulacrum of the original, similarly the Adim that visited Shillong was a simuacrum of the original Adim.

SHILLONG, Deconstructed: So, am I simply saying that a revisit to a charming place subtracts the charm out of it? Like the song "Never as good as the first time- Sade"? No, what I am trying to say is.. it keeps changing.. like you yourself are changing..! Its never the same.. repetition has underlying difference (like difference has an underlying sameness beneath). To see my Denconstructed images of Shillong, click here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mr. Khan

The above portrait of mine was done by my friend Mr. Kareem Khan. Out of the three portraits he has done of me so far, (in his characteristic impulsiveness of sudden zest), I feel the portrait above has captured me in my elemental, (cheerful, energetic, optimistic) best.

Everyday Mr. Khan sits at Nehru Place, New Delhi selling books from his pile of literary collections. Mr. Khan is a highly temperamental person (as most artists intrinsically are). To the frequent passer byes asking about the location of the nearest ATM/ cybercafe/ Bank etc he either responds by a cold, stony, silent gaze or a hot, sour/ bitter/ acidic reply .

To those in query of a particular book/ magazine he's informative, civil, laconic. But to the rather rare queries about any literary manuscript of some worth, he suddenly comes forward in a loquacious, friendly, patronising, candidness (in fact, it might have been the starting point of our friendship too). Thereon he goes onto chat about various other books, offering random information about classics and manuscripts of a wide variation. If he then feels, that, the enquirer is of suitable merit/ fiber, he opens up to his favourite topic of art, culture and creativity. It is then, that the interaction begins to zest up, and then onwards, Mr. Khan opens one up to an alternative world of multitude doorways (somewhat similar to the internet).

What I like most about Mr. Khan's viewpoints are that they are charged, strong, electric, and inflammable. His age and experiences allows him to talk of art/ aesthetics from a viewpoint that is SIMULTANEOUSLY passionate, from the gut, visceral and yet airy, ethereal, lofty & inspirational at the same time.

In our modern world of politically- correct, sanitized, hypocritical and convenient conversation, people like Mr. Khan provide us a refreshing alternative. Since I, myself am a soul who's immersed in my own overtly opinionated world, viewpoint, of Religion, philosophy, Vedic astrology/ Rahu Ketu/ Vaastu and what not, my conversations with Mr. Khan can fall under Jean Baudrillard's classic definition of Radical Exoticism. Where, radically divergent/ different entities combine to create Synthesis/ Metastasis on another unforeseen level. Purely Rahu Ketu indeed...100%!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rahu Ketu of Jean Baudrillard 01

I find my favourite thinker Jean Baudrillard's theories uncannily descriptive of  Rahu Ketu functionings.

In a discussion of "Ecstasy and Inertia," Baudrillard defines "Ecstacy" as the quality of things going far outside of or far beyond itself. Objects and events which are continually surpassing themselves: the beautiful as more beautiful than beautiful in fashion, the real as more real than the real in television, sex as more sexual than sex in pornography. Ecstasy is thus hyperreality taken to yet another level.  
This very Ecstasy of objects in their unrivalled proliferation and expansion defines Rahu. The growing architecture of the hyperreal in providing simulated spaces: amusement parks, shopping malls, consumer fantasylands, reality shows, Game Shows... Simulated worlds which are becoming more real than reality itself!!!

Whereas, about photography Baudrillard says that the photograph instantaneously abnegates its depicted subject. The photograph is a a representation that negates the subject and instantly creates an alternative reality. Such pure negation is but the function of Ketu.

Rahu often entails an excessive amplification of worldly, material objects. In Baudrillards text "System of Objects" provides a fascinating viewpoint of this power of material objects. Their ability to transcend the meaning of their pure functionality. Such a hyper real projection of objects purely fall under the domain of Rahu.  Such a world so completely is so very out of control that it surpasses all attempts to understand, conceptualize and control it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Rahu Ketu of Image/Visuals

While making the illustration of my wife above I first started by making a picture of a woman, in a valiant warrior form representing an independent strong woman. Being ruled by Ketu myself, I hexed it, myself and she started facing a horde of problems. Only when I made a full scale demonic depiction on the left did things somewhat resume to order. This was only once it happened like this.
Illustration in its Rahu Ketu aspects has two components: The symbol of Ketu is a flag. It represents all kinds of signs, portents, omens, signals. Ketu endorses, boosts, amplifies and finally manifests the illustrated subject in some way. This is the priinciple of Creative Visualisation embodied by Brahma, Ketu's overlord. Ketu requires obssessive desire on behalf of the subject. But which enables manifestation of the desired object. As repetitively discussed in all the uncountable popular bestsellers on the topic of Creative visualisation/ positive thinking etc. With Ketu, thoughts often become things. 
The symbol of Rahu is a mask. It always hides Another face/ reality inside. Rahu negates, hexes, erases, reverses the depicted subject. Since medieval times, Rahu hexes, masks, amulets demon images are used to prevent, protect from catastrophe. The best example is of Tibetan Death masks. One keeps the image of the terrify subject consciously manifested somehow around lest it manifest into the conscious. 
Finally i balanced the overtly barbarella type of illustration of Wifey above with the crone like imagery below.

Rahu... the permanent DifferAnce of Meaning..!!!

Literal Meaning is never absolute. It always calls forth other meanings. Just try looking up any word in the dictionary:
it always brings other words to explain itself and other meanings.. and this goes on. Hence to attempt to find totally absolute meanings is like opening a Pandora's box...
it calls forth permanently changing meaning..!!

In my drawing above, a green seeker on the bottom right hand corner tries to find absolute and originary meaning of a word....
...but such is the play of language he ends up opening up a Pandora's box of infinite substitutions..
... a galaxy of forms, an avalanche of endless metaphors and endless profusion of meanings.. Context ever so slightly changes.. so does the literal meaning ...
.. this is the pure Maya/illusion of Rahu..!!!

Qualities of Rahu Ketu Music: Deconstruction/ Transformation, etc

Rahu Ketu influenced music is characterized by being distinctly separate from the comforts of mainstream, run  of the mill fare. Some qualities of Rahu Ketu music: experimental, psychedelic, oddball, cutting edge or extremely ancient, obscure, vague, abstract, songs illustrating Transformation/ Deconstruction as techniques, quirkiness, weirdness, bizzarre, etc, etc.
The album, 'A kind of Blue'- Miles Davis, is a perfect example of Ketu music. Most songs were hardly rehearsed, and very spontaneously performed. All the musicians were technically brilliant, but they used pured form in a pathbreaking way that redefined musical style as we know it. A rupturous, singular, revolution. 

For me the following Steve Vai songs are best descriptive of Rahu's serpentine construction, as they define a familiar/ fixed/ predictable  form at the beginning but gradually their tail changes, into a completely different path, bylane.
1. Tender Surrender  2. Call it Sleep 3. Christmas time is here
Rahu Ketu music is always characterised by a process of form, breakdown, shifting, of contexts is illustrated in many forms of progressive jazz and experimental songs.

Rahu Ketu illustration of Sangeeta's operation

My wife Sangeeta had an extremely painful wisdom tooth extraction. In the agonizing week that followed, I attempted to depict it graphically. However in the process, I found the negative drawing helped bring down the issue at hand. Rather than delude my mind with some trifling diversion I found that Rahu energies abnegates the depicted topic. It acted like a cathartic release. For Rahu governed people, negative Saturnine depiction would help the healing process. For Ketu ruled a symbolic, rupture of consummation with the symbolized object.