one nought eight & two tags

Leave me alone to my grief. She said. I had only just gone up to her. She withdrew, if only momentarily.

I traced my steps back, thinking to myself, I was only wondering how to handle my own.


Ramya I think her name is; but whatever it is, she was well, voluptuous. And then the item girl – wouldn’t know HER name – but well, I’d rather not mention anything. Someone told me something about the movie, I don’t recollect what. I wasn’t expecting anything from a Dhanush movie anyways. It wasn’t much to talk about. Like many other flicks, it sort of glorifies hooliganism. That was the last thing that troubled me though. All the while I was thinking, hell, what is this we are telling our people, our children? For the masses are, quite inevitably, naïve.

But that isn’t what I am thinking. Am thinking of his face, unshaven, mostly bristles of a graying beard. I had offered him a smoke, and it was time for him to leave. There was quite a cloud, what with both of us, almost synchronously dragging deep, both gazing at nothing, each in our own world.

One of my good old friends once asked me why the motorcycle featured in all my bummy tales. In that sense, this evening was an exception (excepting the movie of course – it was all for a motorcycle J). When I stepped out of the cinema at half past midnight – and I was thinking if I should walk or hitchhike – there was this string of them autokaarans. I needed a light, and kept asking as I passed one after another tuk-tuk with its master. So when somebody finally offered it to me, I stopped, lit up, thanked the man and asked him how much he’d want to drop me home.

He quotes, I flinch, and he quotes ten rupees less. Somehow, I didn’t want to contemplate it anymore. What was a difference of that sum going to do to me anyways?


I am grateful. And why not; I ought to be. Somewhere along this fascinating journey, I had started posting gratitude. It wasn’t my idea of course(link novel) – I lifted it off another blogger friend, a very special one. but like all good ideas, I didn’t care. To copy, mimic, it’s a good thing, I tell myself.

Have I stopped being grateful, I ask myself?

What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Asks the bard. I have no answer. I suppose us bums are like that. We keep losing ourselves, only to find ourselves.

What is the meaning of dharmabum, your handle on blogger? What does that represent to you?

A tag it was from this person, or meme. I don’t know the difference between the two. And right now, I don’t care much either. It was a set of questions, an int

The Dharma Bums wasn’t the best of books I had read. I wouldn’t even peg it at the most influential. But it did affect me, the very same way it had probably kicked off the hippy generation, so to say. Don’t worry, be hippy, I’ve often told myself.

Identification, that’s what it was. The book was like a reflection of me, or at least the self I had wanted to be and still do – free. Does that answer the question? I’m not sure. You’re so very fickle minded; impulsive. My father would tell me. I seek refuge in being a bum.


As we were riding, I got talking to this guy, as I do most of the times I use an auto-rickshaw. I’ve always wondered about this thing. Most people know that in madras, riding an auto means paying through one’s nose. I bargain, I haggle, and usually walk on towards my destination for however long it takes, before I can find a rick that will offer me a ride for what I can afford to pay.

The one aspect of this entire drama that has failed my comprehension is that no matter what, these guys live the same life. They don’t to grow – whatever happened to career progression – it’s the same old very middle class life. I understand, from what most of them tell me, that the earning is just about enough for sustenance. It is understandable; this is chennai maanagaram for you. Others tell me they are too complacent, they don’t work hard enough, I am not sure.

When we were almost home, I ventured to ask him one last question. So, you’ve been doing this for what, 20 years now? Tell me; is it really a worthwhile thing to do? How much does one earn? He eyes fell, he had this pitiful look on his face, and I could see he was old enough and possibly also dignified enough not to be lying or saying this for the sake of it.

We had just reached home, I paid him, offered him a smoke which he accepted and we both lit up. Not much, he says. In twenty years, I haven’t made anything much. Life has been pretty much hand to mouth.. I could see he wanted to leave. I told him he didn’t have to wait, that he could well be on his way. Which, also, he gratefully accepted. It’s late, I want to eat and rest, he said, as he rode away on that little three wheeled machine, leaving myself to a long night of silence, and myself.


It’s been a while since I wrote, has it not? I’ve been conscious of it, only just not done anything, until now, in the silence of the night, when I finally decided there is so much to write about.

I believe in my own bummy way, I have traveled my little bit (and waiting to go a long way!) in this world of blogging. 108 posts. Why that number, you might ask? Well, for a sanatana dharmi, it holds a very special place. But I don’t want to talk about that now.

108 posts in a little less than two years isn’t much. Nothing compared to some of my co-inhabitants of this planet at least! I’m talking about it from my own view point. From where I started – with no idea, literally, about what to do – I feel I have grown. This little tavern (I love calling blogs that – inspired from madhushala) has helped me think better. More importantly, it has helped me feel better. Personally, I feel it is important for a writer to feel. It goes beyond the realm of cognition. To me, it’s about how much one really feels about what one pens down. The feeling, the emotion, invariably results in an unstoppable downpour, manifesting in words. These are not people who decide to write before they sit down to. To them, it is not a choice, but a consequence, something driven almost involuntarily. That is one important thing about a writer, for me at least. That reminds me – there is this blogger, someone whom I secretly admire more than most others, for his depth of thought and feeling – he has asked me about my views on writing. Another tag that has been weighing down on me. I have, to the best of my knowledge, never refused or deserted a tag. And so, I’d probably request him to come down here and take a look. May not be a robust idea of a writer, but its mine, and he asked me.

Clichéd as it might sound, like most people, I grew out of fiction too. And yet, every now and then I discover a gem. The latest being London and his stories about the seas – my first taste of him being this book called The Sea Wolf, which a dearest friend, nay – my very own brother that was not born in my father’s dwelling – had bothered to send me all the way from half way across the globe. Maugham, Nevil Shute, there must be a few more, I can’t recollect the names. It seems to me that all these people, when they write – sort of reflect how much they have traveled across to places. And travel itself is something I hold very dear. I like writers who travel, for their works mostly reflect the beauty & irony of this vast, vast world.

I think I’m innately logical in nature, and possibly also quite practical, and so, a logical presentation of thoughts it quite important to me. My brain, or what little there is of it, fails to comprehend abstractions, so I stick to people who can write about more concrete things. If I am reading something, I’d prefer to know what it is about. Gain an idea of things right from the beginning. So my preference is typically essay like, with a beginning (what do they call it) a body and a conclusion!


In a way, this post is also meant to thank all you wonderful folks. I simply love every one of you I have met, and cherish the thoughts we have shared. From one of those first people to come here (if i remember right) to the one of the latest – everyone of you – thanks a ton. It is my privilege to be acquainted with all you wonderful people, to visit your own little taverns! Some of you, I have linked here. A large number of you, though you may not have found a place in this little post, do share a huge space in my tiny little heart, I promise. It is you co-passengers – if I may take the liberty of calling you that – who have made this experience ever so beautiful. Even the ones like this friend who disappeared, all of a sudden. No, it’s not the apparent death of a blog – like some of you may have thought about my own blog and its apparent inactivity in the recent past. There have been days, when I go to my list of blogs, and find some have been deleted, or made private. Some like this person, or this, have been kind enough to grant a bum entry, others, have shut me off for whatever reasons. To every single one of you – my humble salutations!


How can I ever stop being grateful? It’s a miracle that I am alive, and fit and free of bodily ailments – thus far at least. I have never bothered about my health. In more ways than one, I have lived life, pretty much on the edge. Dad tells me I neglect my health, and I can’t disagree with him. Nothing comes to me in moderation, it’s always in extremes.

In college, it was a wild, carefree life, not thinking one bit about the morrow. MJ – I can’t believe I was so enamored by it back in those days. Not that the liking has diminished in anyways, I’ve only grown older, and hopefully, just a wee bit saner. But there was a time when, when I went to my regular peddler, he asked me if I was going to peddle it myself. I was buying a bag full of those little pouches. You’d better be careful with what you are doing. His words as I was parting from him after my last purchase – about a week later, I was graduating and leaving the town – they were more symbolic to me of my life in the larger context.

So that’s a secret vice – for it isn’t considered as ‘social’ as a drink or two – smoking a joint! I don’t do it as often, or pursue it as actively as I used to. And yet, if there was a bum offering me a drag or two, I wouldn’t refuse. There are a few other vices – biting toe nails being one of them. And I think I must have somewhere or the other, mentioned about them. But that was another question as a part of the interview tag – What is your secret vice?

Now that I am back to one of the tags (the other one – about writers and my views on them – I can’t think of much more on that, thanks to my limited understanding!), I think I might as well answer the rest of the questions.

Look at the sunset, in the backdrop of the clouds, the horizon stretching away endlessly, producing the most magical set of colours. What kind of mad painter would be able to humanly produce that sort of an effect?

That’s one of the things I ask myself, when people ask me for proof of the existence of God. To me, it’s not just about belief. Faith, I believe (the usage in this, is quite funny, and even possibly ironical), is one step more than mere belief. Faith transcends reason, it goes beyond mere cognitive knowledge. It is so firmly internalized, there is no looking back. To quote my Gurudev, Sw. Chinmayananda – Faith is the belief in what we know, to know what we believe in.

I know how it works, but I don’t know how it works. I’m not sure, but I think marconi said that. It is easy to come up with logical, scientific conclusions for things. What’s difficult to explain is that which goes beyond logic, beyond our intellect. In fact, I’m beginning to think things go way beyond the vastest stretches that the human mind can perceive in its cognitive activity.

That entity that is beyond what we all see, hear, feel, why even perceive, is to me the inexplicable phenomenon called God. Open up the papers today, and all you see is misery all around. And yet, in spite of all the things that seem to be going wrong, there seems to be something that makes sure things are just alright, at the end of the day. Else the way us homo sapiens are treating our earth and everything else in it, we’d have faced an apocalypse a long, long time ago.

Do you believe in ‘God’ or a Universal force in the Universe? If so, how would you describe it? I don’t think there is anything left to be answered as far as this question is concerned. My God, is my love. And simply put, if you don’t understand, I don’t care a great deal to explain. Look at it this way – your time, is probably yet to arrive. As high handed as that might sound, for once!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?
That’s a tough one. Friends who know me will know that I don’t normally don’t encourage advice. I believe any advice given without solicitation goes waste. I do understand that people, who do so, are acting merely out of concern, of love, and yet, I am heartless enough to believe so. So in my case, there has been advice galore, only I chose not to listen intently to most of it.

You are light-minded. It’s a lucky thing to be so, but you better watch yourself. Dad told me that sometime ago. But those are the words that come to my mind at this point of time, when being forced to think about the advice that I have been give,

Aha! So it’s one last question – What is the one thing you’d most like to do before you die?
How could you have the heart to ask a bum that question? We people have much to do before we leave, don’t we? Somewhere I had mentioned this, but I think I’d want to scale the Everest. No kidding, I really want to do it, hopefully before global warming reduces the legendary peak to a nothing,

I’d probably also want to do two more things. Help two people, basically. One is the stray dogs around. There are so many around. And to think that they are a result of human negligence, puts me to shame. Someday, I’d want to pick up a couple of them so called mongrels off the road, and love them like my own children, which I hope not to have to save me the trouble.

The other is the peasants of this country. This is another one of those things that shame me. And I come from what was once known as a primarily agrarian economy. Today, we have farmers killing themselves, and their children don’t see any future in pursuing what people for generations together have been doing. I’m not convinced that nothing can be done. I want to farm some day. Plough, till, sow and hopefully reap. And help those around me find smarter ways of doing the same. I am sure there are ways; we just don’t want to find them, or show them to those who feed us. We’re too busy in proving to the world that we are an ‘economy to reckon with’.

In the end, I’d like to love – everybody, anybody who comes my way. I’d even go out of my way. But I think it is important to love everybody. In my own bummy way, and this may not exactly be easy to understand. For somewhere, I am beginning to think most people have a very skewed understanding of loving. The moment we love, they want to possess. Love is about giving without asking, as much as it as about taking.

There is so much to do, and so little time, but for the sake of the meme, I think that sums it up.


There are places I’ll remember all my life,
though some have changed
some forever not for better
some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments,
with lovers and friends I still can recall;
some are dead and some are living
in my life I’ve loved them all.

~.John Lennon/Paul McCartney


40 thoughts on “one nought eight & two tags

  1. Thought-provoking, heartfelt and truly interesting – thank you for this post. I feel I know you better, and I like what I know, very much.My friend Nandini, who also lives in Madras, has taken home several street dogs. There were four there when I last visited (well, one had just had puppies, so more than that) and she recently told me she has another, who had its foot crushed and limps.

  2. Unbridled freedom of the road came to be typified in ‘On the Road’ by the same writer who wrote ‘The Dharma Bums’ – Jack Kerouac.And Maugham in ‘The Razor’s Edge’ caught the light with as much finesse and mystery the pull of the road.Folks write as much to remember it themselves, reliving the experience in the words that flow onto the page, as to reaching an audience who can relate to them.The bend in the road will beckon, for it is in the bends the ‘straights’ of life will reveal!So long!

  3. :)see, this is why I love reading your posts. Some are crisp and neat. and some are like a book! I don’t always agree with everything you do or say, but I guess its the same with a book too, rite? And thats why I keep coming back here. This particular post is very well written. I appreciate your patience here too :)About “dharmabum” I cant agree more with your daddy. I think you resort to being (and staying) a bum, cos that way, you can categorize everything you do or say, under the “bummy ways” category! You don’t get caught or questioned for being a bum, cos bums are simply expected to do the unexpected.I know very many bums that do this. They just don’t call it the “bummy way” I guess. But they continue to do it nonetheless. So you’re not alone Dharma. When it comes to being fickle, I’m your kind too 😉

  4. this post makes up in its length and matter the time u didnt write since the last post… (though it ws the last post tht i actually wandered across ur blog and read for the first time) u ve covered a large area of events, situations, books and people, who at some point or the other, made u pause and think.. feels nice to be able to share a wee bit of ur times thru ur posts..being a bum is no easy thing, and so, at least I can feel the carefree life thru this blog, if not in real life.

  5. There’s so much to react to here: The bit about writers – I agree that a writer who’s travelled extensively makes for an interesting read. But then again, there are writers like the Bronte sisters or George Eliot who wrote from their homes and still wrote so beautifully, their works are counted among Classics…The career graph of an autorickshaw wallah – well, there are so many people around us who have jobs and no careers… and they’re too busy earning a living to even care for a career. Interestingly, they say that for women as well – most of them have jobs that they do, but successful careers belong only to a few.And you chew toe nails?!!! Aargh!And honestly, I did not read the whole interview tag except for the last bit which made you sound very philanthropic! Way to go…

  6. hey..u are right about one thing..u do things in extremes…this post is the best example of it…but its amazing how u’ve put across so many varied things in an equally vagrant fashion and yet it is seamless… :)another thing i love about ur post is the links that u have…it gives more meaning to a sentence most of the time…seems i have a lot to learn about books from u….am making a note..will keep reading…well career graphs and economic conditions be it of the rickshaw walas of the farmers a comment will make no difference…unless we, who can think are proactive about it…and i guess warped or otherwise..each one has their own philosophies about gratitude and love…i particularly agree with the following…”I’d like to love – everybody, anybody who comes my way. I’d even go out of my way. But I think it is important to love everybody.”ur interview questions…well ur a generous albeit ‘high handed’ person ;)was really great to read from u after all this while…cheers!!

  7. I didn’t think your blog had died, I was wondering if you were in one of your journeys. But this posts sounds a little bit final to me, hopefully it’s just my mind playing tricks.Wow, you have a way of mixing memes together, don’t you? ;)It’s really nice to read your post because there’s a whole life phylosophy there, in your lifestyle, your aspirations, …you remind me of the road traveller Jack Kerouac. Perhaps you’d like his books. And nobody cares if you’re still listening to tapes, the music is inside you. You are musical, bum 🙂

  8. PRITIKA,well, you didn’t miss the chance i guess! wil wait for your returnGAIZABONTS,do please :)Z,yes, one ought to know me better…in a way, this was a lot about me, the outer shells having been is heart warming to know that you like what you read, in spite of what you read :)i think i would like to meet your friend nandini. could learn a thing or two from her. you think its possible?thank YOU z, for being here – your presence and words are truly much appreciated.HDWK,thank you. and no – i don’t think it was the intention. i was a little inebriated when i wrote this, and the last thing you wanna do in such a state is outshine – either yourself or anybody else :)ANIL P,haven’t gotten hold of ‘on the road’ as yet. rather it hasn’t come to me – books choose us, don’t they? i shall wait.’the razor’s edge’ was fantastic. my fav by the author though, is ‘moon and six pence’ have you read that one?NEPALI,welcome here and thanks!BLA,u think so? well, thats nice. wish i could say something when i stop over at your place too :PKESHI,the body dies – eventually. it might just be a good idea to take care of it now though. nothing more precious than good health.IYER,i LOVE the first bit of your comment :)thank you, thank you and thanks once again. you are one of those ppl who has always been here, even when i don’t write – thanks for that too!i’ve always wanted to be alone. not type classed u know. so in that sense, it is a disappointment, what you say. GAURI,yes, it is not easy. people can dissuade you into believing that its best not to walk the path – its easy to ‘conform’…i’m truly glad you understood that.GAZAL,thanks! should write more regularly – thanks for the encouragement..,SMITA,you will not believe it, but my own heart was feeling heavy when i wrote it. don’t know if it came across – if not thru the post itself, but somehow…u know, …i do hope u will read more and write back more. you are one of those people whose thoughts i really look forward to. am a fan of your movie reviews!D,i’m a little cynical about some of those classics – i really don’t know why they’re called so. maybe i lack the whatever it takes to appreciate them, but in most cases, i haven’t been able to get past a few pages :)women, i guess in our context atleast have somehow been taken for granted – its always the guys career thats the preference.chewing toe nails, well – its just faster and easier than a clipper. and whats more, it keeps my body flexible. look at me, justifying that dirty act :Pdo read the whole thing when u have more time.

  9. VITRUVIAN,yeah, extreme extremes :)thank you – i just sat down and wrote without planning much. its a sort of a reflection of my vagrant self, i glad you are making note of the books. interestingly, most of my books were inherited from my grandpa – he seems to have had good taste!didn’t mean to sound high handed – am normally not so!thanks for being here.DEVIL,good to see you, my dear friend. interestingly – when i read it – a day after i wrote it, and in a more sober frame of mind, i thought it sounded final too. no, it isn’t.of course i like kerouac. have only read the dharma bums and some poetry. thought it was evident – i’ve written about it in the post, why even my blog name is inspired by him.musical bum? well, thanks :)HDWK,already done it – links in your blog!

  10. A beautiful tribute to your blog and all the blogger friends out there.Nice movie review. Totally agree with you. It sure is hero-ee-fication of a mafia don. But, that’s what Nayagan did too, didn’t it ? Many characters have performed well, and in particular, I liked the guy who steals the bike :DYou seem to have fully lived you college life. I have a feeling that you must be somebody, who knows somebody I know 😀 ..and there are many more things that you have written about, that I want to write about. I wanna come back, after reading it once more 🙂

  11. Very long and thought provoking post. A set of different posts clubbed together I can say but all are worth reading and to thought about.Keep writing. We have seen each other many times on many blogs. 🙂

  12. Im speechless ..just trying to collect all the thoughts that have been provoked by reading your post ..autodrivers – well thats a completely different subject . I just had a conversations with a couple last week-one who swore at me and yelled and another who told me the travails of his life !

  13. wonderful post Dbum!It seems to me that being a dharmabum follows a long tradition of sadhus.Why are the farmers killing themselves? Is agriculture all turning to large scale farming for export? I work in sustainability and agriculture and development is an interest. Am curious.Too many thoughts to put into words from reading your post.Thanks for the revelations!xxpinks

  14. KESHI,that isn’t good enough reason for neglect, is it? :)VITRUVIAN,have done those things, left a comment on your blog with links. but thanks anyways!YOGA GAL,thanks, and welcome aboard!NAYAGAN,thanks!don’t tell me you’re comparing a masterpiece like nayagan with some third-rate flick, i’ll be heart broken :)we might just know/ have common friends – its a small world after all :Pi do hope u will come back and talk more my dear friend.CUCKOO,welcome here – i am, actually glad to meet you. like u say, we ben bumping into each other here and there – welcome home now :)and thank you.JOLVIN,thanks!BACKPAKKER,well, i didn’t know i had that kind of a dumbing effect :Pglad to note that you talk to auto drivers too. maybe u shud post abt it sometime.PINK,thank you. interesting you have linked bums and sadhus – i guess they’re pretty similar in some ways, and very different in others.the farmers are killing themselves because they are no longer able to make a decent living out of their profession. some people say they use archaic methods. others say small scale farming is not a viable option. i don’t know what ought to be done…i mean, these are people who have been pursuing it for generations – and now they are helpless and the country isn’t doing much for them.we could email a little more about this to each other. i could learn a thing or two about development and sustainability from you. thank you.MADDIE,i doubt if i’ll stop, for now atleast. and well, anything for your sake, my dear friend. warm hugs.

  15. Hey DB..nice stuff man ! Light, yet, straight from the heart. Glad to meet intelligent people who believe in the Sanatan ways of the world ;)I liked the part abt faith and of course bummy ways ! What a positive phrase to pleasantly goofy !Some of my friends attribute the -‘love everybody’ part to – continued exposure to leafy substances – but what the hell….its good to love everybody isnt it 🙂 !God Bless !

  16. Yeah, Polladhavan is violent, very violent, but someone told me it was the better of the diwali releases.Oh well.You mr.bum have made chutney cases like me, think.So much so that my head is kinda hurting now.I will come back and finish the rest of the post when my mind stops asking so many questions.Yes.

  17. the admiration isn’t secret anymore?:)well done @ tag. but all things concrete come out of all things abstract, don’t they?if i read the entire post in one go – it is a bit of abstraction! ;)you’re ok…

  18. CHAITRA,welcome to our humble abode – thanks so much for dropping by.i am glad to meet another one of those who believe in sanatana dharma. i feel if we know it, there is no way we can look anywhere beyond.well, the continuous exposure was a long time ago, those were wild days. it has fallen now, but not the desire to love everybody!do keep coming by – pity u don’t write yourself.CHUTNEY,welcome aboard.@ chutney cases – its such a sweet reference 🙂 well, think, but not so much that it causes you hurt, alright?i am wondering if u did come back to the post…?KESHI,:)GAURI,the fact that u come here looking for more is reason enough for me, just haven’t been able to sit down….very soon, i promise!GAIZABONTS,u did come back, after all – and i was secretly hoping you would, like you promised. and no, the admiration – is out in the open!when i read it back, it borders on abstraction too – which is making me believe the levels of abstractions can be very subjective. which makes me in turn think if i should go back and edit my post? nah!KESHI, MUSH AND TK,warm wishes to you too – hope you all have a wonderful year ahead. TK – thats a beautiful way to bless! thank you.PHISH,good to see u bro. u know what, u sound like ellie wallach in the cow boy movie where he says, ‘when u wanna shoot, shoot, don’t talk!’glad you enjoyed the post!

  19. u hav been living ur lifeand r alive to tell it allpoor uswho r intoxicated enuf to read it all:)anyways, i wud like u to read one of my previous posts, ‘without a sound’if u get some time out, that istake care

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