Wundring Aloud


This is Post Number 100, and I think that I should thank Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull for the title of this post!

Over the last months – year – since I started blogging, I realised that I have gone crazy.  It is time to decide how I want to proceed in the blogosphere or it will possibly swallow me alive, in the same way that a python swallows a goat.

So, let me list the blogs that I have, and you will get a hint of the insanity.

I have this one http://rajivchopra.me

Then, I have one (http://crookedimagez.me) that started off as a travel writing and photography blog.  I also started a travel bog on http://www.kissfromtheworld.com!

Number three, I have my monochrome one called http://crooked-and-black.com

Finally, I have my ‘dark’ blog (http://lokispeakz.me) that I kind of abandoned a year ago.

So now, it is time to regroup! And, to recover my sanity!

Here goes my first attempt!

1. I had started rajivchopra.me as a straight and boring corporate blog, but the spiders in my brain took over and started weaving a web of their own. I think I shall let them continue with their good work.

2. Travel writing shall shift to ‘kissfromtheworld’, and I shall convert crookedimagez to a photo blog. Therefore, I shall abandon crooked-and-black.

3. I may revive Lokispeakz. I like to explore the dark corners of my brain.


Oh yes. I shall also start doing photo-essays, travel articles and a travel book and shall pray that someone will publish them.

Finally, I shall build my portfolios on Behance and 500px!

Sanity returns? Or not?

Or, another form of madness?

Doggerel. The Journey To Hell. Part 2

Puss sat down, and thought with a frown
“In these waves of confusion,
I surely shall drown.
There is more to this, much more
Of this, I am sure.
But in time I will come back,
With a new line of attack”

Lucifer gazed at her,
With a smile in his eyes
And said, “Oh Puss,
There is much that lies
There are shades of grey
In all I say”

Puss raised her head,
And in her head she thought,
A thought “I think this clown
Needs to be brought down”
She raised her head. She said,
“Oh Lucifer, come to my bed”

She gazed deep into his eyes;
“Hear my sighs,
Feel my heart’s desire”
Her look was coy, her look was strong.
But Lucifer was listening to another song.

His eyes were black, His eyes were dark
He laughed, and said, “Hark.
Hark my words, heed them well.
Remember, you are down in Hell.
You wish to learn of the nature of desire,
Do you wish to learn by fire?”

“Desire is inherent in everyone
Whence came this world? Why was it born?
Did God who made it have no desire,
To see his creation, feel his power?
To feed his vision, feel it flower?”

“Was he to planted the seed
Of desire in Eve, or was it me?
Why do you people see my image in a snake?
Is it not of God’s make?
In Hindu temples, of Shiv The Lord
They worship snakes, they praise his sword”

“They praise the lingam in the yoni
In this they see the Great Mystery.
In temples and in kingdoms all
Lies love for money,
The Love for power.
Who is it who desires all?”

“Who is weak and who is strong?
Who is free to walk along,
Along the paths, and with a song?
He who lusts for more and more?
Or he who bursts the chains,
The chains that hold us all?”

Failure is Good


This is an excellent piece of writing, advice with a wonderful photograph thrown in as bonus!

Originally posted on In Flow:


Failure is inevitably linked with art – and life for that matter. Well, it’s also linked to success if you think about it. To put it a little harshly; if we don’t experience failures it’s because we don’t live – or we don’t create, when talking about arts. And if we don’t dare to make failure we will never succeed, either.

Life and art is about jumping from an airplane without knowing how a parachute really works, but hoping it will. It’s about taking chances, knowing that often they won’t lead to anything – or at «worst» to failure. I use brackets because failures aren’t necessarily bad. On the contrary; you can use them as stepping stones to learn more, to become better next time, to evolve, to grow. In my post Weakness as Potential Strength I wrote: By figuring out where our weaknesses lie, we can take steps to…

View original 772 more words

The Journey To Hell. Part One

This is the first part of some doggerel poetry I started writing a year back. I have no -zero – poetic skills…

I have written ten parts. It’s not yet complete. I wonder if I should complete it. I am putting it out here, cause I promised Swami Yesudas that I would.

Now,I have a stomach bug and a headache, so the formatting maybe awry… Blame the IPad.

And now, here goes!

“Puss in Boots
Went down to the roots,
Of Love, Hate & Desire
And what she saw there,
Set her heart afire,
For she saw that God is a Liar.

She went down to Hell
And rang the Bell
Of Lucifer’s great big door.
She sat on the floor
Of His great Big Hall,
And asked him to tell her all.

“Tell me, Oh Lucifer
Of lies and truth; for I am on fire”
He laughed and laughed
And said, ” I don’t want to earn God’s ire.
He has put you on earth,
And is rolling with mirth
And thinks of your heart on fire.”

“But, though I am small
I will try and tell all
That I know, of love, hate and desire.
These questions are deep,
And have often made me weep
But I shall speak, even if you think
That I am a liar”

“Truth is but a lie
Often missed in the blink of an eye
My truth is not thine
Nor is thy truth mine.
Who is indeed the liar?
You, me, or the old village Friar?”

Puss sat down, and shook her head.
This did not seem to her to be correct.
She looked up at Lucifer with doubt in her eyes,
And said, “Your belief cannot be mine.
Truth is absolute, and so is a lie;
I’ll carry this belief till I die”.

67, and going strong!



We turn 67 today, and this is our 68th Independence Day.

I don’t know how many people outside India, or South Asia, know this but, our country was finally born as an independent nation on the rivers of blood. I do firmly believe that the partition of India in to (at that time) India and Pakistan was largely the result of the ambitions of two men. They believed that what they were doing was right, but to a large extent, the partition was driven by rivalling ambitions. Finally, when the two countries were born, millions of people came from what is now Pakistan into India. Millions went from India into Pakistan. Millions were killed. Blood was shed, and hate and bigotry ruled.

We are one people really, but now we are three countries. Our relations with Pakistan have been built on the bedrock and foundation of suspicion and hate. This is not good. This can never be good.

My father’s family came over at that time, leaving everything behind. I would call myself as part of the transition generation, the generation that did not witness, but grew up on the stories of the partition. My kids don’t have that same feeling. They look ahead.

Our flag, the design and the colours were chosen with care.

The saffron represents strength and courage. What is strength? What defines it?

The white represents peace and truth. It contains the Dharma Chakra, and is found on the on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka

The green represents fertility and growth.

Good values all.

When I was growing up, there was a strong North-South divide in India. Anyone in South India were called “Madrasi”. Things have changed, and since 1991, we have started to develop a stronger sense of nationhood.

We have problems galore, and it is for all of us to solve them. At one point, when I was living in Singapore, I was tempted to chuck my Indian passport and get a Singaporean one. It would have made my life easier in terms of international travel. My boss told me that a passport is just a piece of paper. But, something held me back. Some deep emotion for my country. Call it love, if you will. Being Indian defines me. My Indian passport, despite all the shit in my country, increased in value in my eyes and I realised that this is more than just a piece of paper. It is part of me, a part of my culture, a part of my history.

I think we need to build peace with our neighbours. We need to build peace within India. Hate cannot define our relationship with our neighbours.

We do need to do our bit to build India.

Enough said. I will just end with one more quote from Swami Vivekananda, who said it much better than I can ever do:

Out of the past is built the future. Look back, therefore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, and after that, look forward, march forward and make India brighter, greater, much higher than she ever was. Our ancestors were great. We must first recall that. We must learn the elements of our being, the blood that courses in our veins; we must have faith in that blood and what it did in the past; and out of that faith and consciousness of past greatness, we must build an India yet greater than what she has been.”


The Midnight Approaches….

Are You Free? Or, Am I?

Are You Free? Or, Am I?

The midnight hour approaches, and before I go on, I am going to link to the speech that Jawaharlal Nehru made on the eve of our Independence in 1947. To watch it, you will need to click the link that is embedded in his name. This is  a speech that still sends tingles down my spine. It is a fantastic speech today. I say that it is a fantastic speech, because that is what it is. It promised freedom, a new future for us as a Nation. It was a beautiful moment, one of the most beautiful that can come in the history of a nation – freedom. We have had centuries of invasions, and to be free was a great feeling.

Do click the link and watch this 1 minute snippet before you read on.

So, what is a picture of two hens, or cockerels, doing in the same space as Jawaharlal Nehru’s marvellous speech?

Is the chicken on the cage free, or does it live in the illusion of freedom?

And, what is this picture of this lady doing along with that speech?






So, let me quote another great Indian, one who I have always held up as an ideal, Swami Vivekananda, who was born in 1863. He said, amongst other things, “All the wealth in the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves.”

When the people of the country can stand up, feel strong, they will feel free. When people in our country can stand up and help themselves, and each other, then they will feel freedom. This is when they will stop depending on handouts from passersby.

Freedom is a concept that we often take for granted, but one that we don’t feel unless it is taken away from us. What happens to those who have never experienced freedom?

Is freedom only freedom from poverty? If this is the case, then we as Indians don’t score very well as a Nation, as we have one third of the world’s hungry, despite the fact that we produce enough grain to feed the nation.

Is freedom only freedom when we can think for ourselves, and are strong in that ability? Or, is it freedom when we believe all the dogma that is fed to us? As a country, we often talk of our glorious heritage, but we don’t do enough to improve the present. It seems that we have the fastest rate of increase in the number of billionaires in the world, yet millions die in ignorance and poverty. They are not free from the chains of the old caste system, despite the government’s attempt to reserve jobs and educational slots for them.

What is freedom indeed?

I met an Aussie man who told me to reduce the number of my masters, and then I would be free. This is philosophy, so I won’t go into it.

Is there freedom for women who are raped and killed?

Is there freedom for people from the North East who come to Delhi to face discrimination in their own country?

To walk in fear is not freedom.

To walk, like responsible people, without fear; with pride and humility, with open minds, is in my view, the beginning of freedom.

We have another tryst with destiny when the clock crosses the midnight hour tonight.

We should think of the words of Nehru, Vivekananda and others who fought for our Independence, and really try to understand the value of independence and freedom.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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There will be two, maybe three, more posts going up to the 15th August.

Now, what is wrong with this picture?

Does the girl look Chinese?

Is she “Chinky”?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the above two questions, then you are wrong.

She is from the North Eastern state called Manipur. There are seven states in North East India, where the people have Mongoloid genes. It is one of my favourite parts of the country. I have travelled there in the past, and intend to travel and photograph it again in the next few years.

She is not Chinese, nor is she “Chinky”. She is very much Indian, and she is a friendly girl who once served me up a fantastic hot dog.

Yet, people in Delhi call them Chinky and beat them up. Several have been killed.

When I was 16, I was sitting quietly in the Army Mess ( we were to be seen, but not heard) listening to a Parsi Lady wax eloquent about the Americans, and how they mistreat Indians, and discriminate against us. She then went on to criticise black people, and when I finally, timidly raised my hand and said, “Ma’am, but aren’t you doing the same? Discriminating against a bunch of people?”

Giving me a withering look, she said, “Young boy. You don’t understand. We are light brown. We are not black. Therefore, no one has the right to discriminate against us.” With that, I was dismissed.

A few years back, there were reports in the Indian papers about Indian students being beaten up in Australia. Now, I am not going to go into the details, nor excuse the Aussies. Neither will I excuse the Indians who, other reports claimed, had made no attempt to integrate into the Aussie society.

Yet, here we are, discriminating against our own people, simply because they look different, and come from a part of the country that not too many Indians know about.

Methinks, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves how we, as Indians, can do better.

It is easy to talk about Americans, Aussies, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Blacks, Yellows, Whites, Greens, and say – “You bad sonofabitch! How dare you discriminate against me!”

We have made strides, as a Nation. When I was in my teens, any one from the South was considered dark and not fit for marriage into a North Indian family. With the opening up of our economy, things have improved on this front. But not enough.

Unless we learn to respect what, and who, is different, we will never find peace on this planet.

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