what light could quench
this thirst only darkness
had eaten up with
little inkling of mercy
I was born to Muslim parents in India. Mum was and is still a staunch muslim. Dad used to be an atheist, but goes to the mosque regularly now.
My brother and I read the Quran daily for 6 months or so, when I was 10 or something. I understood parts of it, as much as I could comprehend as a kid, but then never again went back to reading it. I occasionally go back to it whenever I want to look at all the contradictions in it.
My brother hated religion growing up, partly due to being forced to read the Quran when he could have been out playing. Years later, he would give up his job in the US and return home, so he could live a pious life. He’s still pious, relatively sane, and often tries to convince me to follow the path of Allah.
Dad had a big influence on me with respect to atheism. Mom force feeding religion didn’t help either.
My brother and I went to Christian missionary schools in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and elsewhere. Fortunately or unfortunately, we never made it to the madrassas.
After college and university, I moved to Bangalore and remained an atheist. My friends and I would ponder about all things metaphysical, spiritual and philosophical. And, it was in Bangalore that I was introduced to Buddhism and Zen.
There was always the question of the self, who I was, what I was and what I was doing. It still remains a question, but has perhaps become irrelevant over time. Like most questions.
In the Wellington summer of 2011, things changed. An easel, a palette and some painting happened. I had a revelation and then some. Things weren’t what they seemed. Too many questions came to the fore.
During college, my muslim friends would often try to convince me about Islam (some of them still do) and I would ask them, if god created everything, then who created god? Figures that applied to just about every other religion in the world. There never was really a good answer, beyond blind faith.
Once you started asking questions, the questions never stopped and it felt as though you never got any reasonable answers. And so, here I am, summing up what I’ve to come to believe over the last few years.
So, what do I believe in?
- I believe we are part of a bigger whole – warts and all – good and bad
- E.g. the whole would be the body and the parts would be atoms in the body
- We are part of the universe and the universe is us – B^2FH
- I believe that our actions and lives are predetermined
- We were seeded with a random number, so to speak, but there’s only so much randomness
- We always act in a very predictable fashion, even though we think we are unpredictable
- There’s no such thing as a free will – Radiolab
- It is unreasonable to expect things to be reasonable – they never are, never have and never will be
- We have to traverse this ocean of reason and unreason the only way we can – the only way we know how
- That path is unique for each and every one of us
- Only you can acknowledge that and act accordingly
And this part in Baruch Spinoza’s wikipedia page, completes the picture of what I’m trying to say:
… envisages a God that does not rule over the universe by Providence in which God can make changes, but a God which itself is the deterministic system of which everything in nature is a part. Spinoza argues that “things could not have been produced by God in any other way or in any other order than is the case,”; he directly challenges a transcendental God which actively responds to events in the universe. Everything that has and will happen is a part of a long chain of cause and effect which, at a metaphysical level, humans are unable to change.
Well, you gotta write something. Why not write the recipe I used to make Chana Saag or Chickpea Spinach Curry tonite.
- 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 onion – thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- Alternately 1 inch of grated ginger and 5 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 can of diced or pureed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp of garam masala
- 1 tsp of salt or to taste
- 2 15oz cans of chickpeas
- 1 pack of frozen spinach or 1 lb fresh baby spinach
- a pinch of chilli powder (cayenne)
Let’s start cooking. Make sure you have your favorite apron on – it’s important.
- Start with some oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves.
- When the mustard seeds start popping, increase the heat to high and add the onions. Saute them until they’re golden.
- Reduce heat to medium and add turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt.
- Add the ginger garlic paste or the grated ginger and minced garlic. Stir and mix everything well.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes until everything is mixed well. Ensure there are not chunky tomato pieces.
- Add the chickpeas next and mix everything well. Stir regularly and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add a pinch of cayenne chilli powder – for extra spice. You can skip it if you don’t want the dish hot.
- Add the spinach and let it simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
And that should be it. Serve with some warm roti, naan or basmatic rice. It’s gonna be yummy!
It’s a new year and new things to come, built on old ideas and thoughts that have been lost and forgotten.
This year, I intend to:
- be more confident
- be very specific
- plan vacations
- save to buy a house
- take time to think
- but decide quickly
- be open to possibilities
- paint more
- write more
- read more
- be healthy
And finally a quote by Ai Weiwei:
“A small act is worth a million thoughts.”
I’ve been building a docker image for Heketi and noticed that the image size was more than 3 times the size of a base Centos 7 image. Searching on google, I came across this page on optimizing docker images. Now, I understand why the Dockerfiles spread across github have multi-line RUN commands.
My docker image started with a size of around 698.2 MB. Now it’s just 198.5MB.
$ sudo docker images REPOSITORY TAG IMAGE ID CREATED VIRTUAL SIZE heketi/heketi centos7 eda2e47811c6 15 seconds ago 198.5 MB docker.io/centos latest ce20c473cd8a 5 days ago 172.3 MB
You can take a look at the Dockerfile I created.