Saturday, March 28, 2009

music in public transportation

friday, on my way to the vienna-budapest bus, i took the metro (which i only do on these occasions). open entering, i saw two men looking generally southasian and in the hope of being able to overhear some hindi, i sat next to them. it turned out they talked german, but the content of their conversation was really beautiful to me.

while they sat there talking, a guy had started playing the accordion and another was singing to it. the older one of the two men next to me, having a lighter shaded skin, asked the younger “do you still remember, the people back home on the buses? this is reminding me of them.”
the younger responded “hm, i only remember them from the buses in musoorie, in india”. the older smiled and went on “yes, and not only did we have music, but also story tellers on buses throughout pakistan. so even when you sat on a bus for many hours and had nothing to do, then still you learned so much and had such a great experience”…

they carried on reminiscencing about their home countries, pakistan and india, and i was touched by the beauty of the situation; a pakistani and an indian sitting in vienna, austria, talking about india and pakistan almost like one country, not the bloody enemies they have been and become.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


generally, i’m a person that tries to balance between a calmness of resting in oneself and expressing emotions as true and vivid as i feel them. there are, though, emotional abilities i lack, and one of them is to take something lightly or brush it off.
the specific thing i’m referring to, right now, is how much it occupies and nags me, busies my thoughts and makes me nuts, when out of some situation i see another person judging me wrongly.

this is exactly what happened today; somebody obviously thinking of me as rather superficial/superficially involved with something. this judgement was based on my reaction to something, and i see very well how it was easy to misinterpret it.

as i said above, i cannot just decide to not care about it any further or simply discard the thought from my mind. i am actually insulted, and the feeling remains circling in my mind (which reminds me of a tibetan verb for thoughts circling in your mind, which is constructed with the unvoluntary auxilliary construction, since it isn’t the person who voluntarily controls what his or her thoughts circle on about).

what nags me even more, though, is the fact i probably won’t be able to change this person’s opinion of me other than through my behaviour, which might keep being misinterpreted (even more so now that the person has formed some kind of an opinion about me according to which i am seen). i cannot just walk up to that person and explain why my reaction was superficial and uneducated…

Saturday, March 21, 2009

China’s brutality on video

The website recently posted an article about video footage released by the Tibetan Government in exile documenting the violence that occured after Tibetan protests in the TAR, China, in March 2008.
Please, dedicate 10 minutes right now to reading this article and after doing so, do not leave without watching the video (link at the end of their article, then click on China’s brutality in Tibet exposed).


I do not post about this in order to persuade people to engage, with whatever means, in some a fight for Tibetan independence. Neither is it my goal to spread prejudice and lies about China.
My simple reason for posting this is that I believe objective truths must be spread, with as much force as we can. The China-Tibet debate is long and full of bias, lies and false allegations. But by watching this footage, recorded on the spot, the viewer will be able to catch a rare glimpse behind the curtain of censorship and silence that is veiling this international wound of human rights.

So please, even if you have little time, or little engagement with the issue of Tibet, dedicate these few minutes to reading the article and watching the video; for the sake of the truth being spread.

Thank you.

Just today, a Tibetan monk (Tashi Sangpo, aged 28) from the Amdo Golok Ragya monastery, Qinghai, committed suicide by jumping into the Machu river after security forces claimed to have found political leaflets and a Tibetan national flag in his room.
The monastery has been locked down by Chinese forces since March 10th (50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising) this year, when political leaflets were circulated and a huge Tibetan national flag raised above the monastery’s main prayer hall. Tashi sneaked past the security forces by pretending to go to the toilet; the river is in the direct proximity of the monastery.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

this spring

(play for moody music while reading)

最近开学,我很忙。 स्कूल शुरु किया और मैँ बहुत व्यस्त हूँ...

i’ve been filled with a strange new feeling, lately. stemming from the developments of my current situation at the university, i’ve come to reflect about the course of my studies and the fact that they might be finished already in the not-so-hazy-anymore future.
all so suddenly, writing my diploma-thesis might be just around the corner. all so suddenly, there seem to be topics waiting for me write it about.

last week, we booked our flights to india for this summer; and it turns out i might already use some of the there doing field research for my diploma. everything suddenly seems to be happening so fast. ideas and possible options suddenly become real possible futures, and that can be frightening at times, can’t it?

when i think about the me that writes his diploma and the me that i am right now, i don’t see those two matching just yet. on the one hand, i feel i still need to spend so much more time studying, just getting better at the things i do and absorbing more knowledge; on the other hand despise the thought of lagging around, being slow, growing tired of the things i do because i do the same thing for too long.

time, time… ah.

it’s bizarre. over the last few days the temperatures gently rose, tempting us all with spring, making us enjoy the first fine air on the institute’s terrace.
yesterday, i picked up my bike from the bike-doc on my way home from university and was happily looking forward to riding to uni again today, instead of being forced to take the bus again. so this morning, i get up and look outside only to find out that it is snowing. i repeat: SNOW. horribly wrong in so many ways.
finally, i took the bus since i’m lazy and felt somewhat sick these days. after arriving at the institute, the snow stopped. later, in the early afternoon, it came back for an hour or so, only to be swiftly followed by bright sunlight and rising temperatures.



Thursday, March 5, 2009

"End of the World"

ah yes, in case anyone hasn't treated their ears with this yet:
(still, everytime i listen to this my eyes get all watery and so on...)

blue tango

blue tango, blue tango, my tango
my tango, my tango, blue

ever so slowly, i'm trying to find my way back to the university. the semester has begun, classes are starting, and the institute slowly awakes from one month of half-slumber.

starting this semester, i've gotten two small jobs at the institute. one is being a tutor for the class of classical tibetan. that means having a 90 minute lesson per week where the students can come and ask questions, review what they have done, practice and have me help with their homework.
one of the good things about being a tutor is that it makes you review the topics of the class yourself, meaning i'll brush up my deep inside knowledge of classical tibetan grammar terminology.

there are times, when i realise what a small bubble i'm living my life in, here. since two and a half years i am living in vienna now, and haven't once gone out to party in the evenings... i'm so utterly uncool.
seriously though, i still get the holiday-vacation feeling when i'm in the centre of the city and not moving on the regular paths between my flat and the university.

also, i'm getting old. time passes so quickly, and though i have no care for the physical process of aging, i think much about getting older (growing up), mentally.
there are days when it seems the steps with which you get older (in the figurative sense of getting more experienced in life, etc) all seem to be made of something pure inside you getting tainted, stained or broken. i wrote a short poem about this, recently, but am too unhappy with it to share it here.
it isn't always only negative developments, though. yesterday, a friend told me "you've definitely had some development before you became this wise." and he began to describe me when he first saw me, in a lecture in my first semester. growing is multidimensional, after all.

blue tango, blue tango, my tango
my tango, my tango, blue

(Paolo Conte)