Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I been reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' and pondering about the concept, 'quality' for some time. Laterally for a change, instead of vertically, trying to be 'Phadreus'. There was no motor-cycle involved for me to make the travel, but sure there was the destination. Ente Keralam (my Kerala), just like 'Bozeman' to the protagonist, shared a bond much beyond words to me. Train Number 17230, my ride and I tried sink in the travel with the clatter. Un-eventful by all standards, and having not gone an inch anyplace from the coordinates I been on 'quality', I stepped into the rain, and I wondered maybe this is what 'quality' actually is. You can feel it, see it, sense it, but try how much ever there is no actual defining of it. From the heat and dust of Andhra, to the lush green of Kerala and the drizzles which lasts forever, that could be what quality actually is. The quality of the environment !!

Similarly in all spheres of human existence and in nature, one is always in clatter with quality, but defining quality, not my cuppa coffee. I was living it, I was making small talk to the auto driver. We were talking about the weather forecast and soon what started on the rains went to 'smart city', 'corruption' and finally the huge amount of 'Indian black money in the Swiss and Cayman accounts'. Quality all over again, human beings who knew about the world they were living in, the landscapes and the terrain, which I seldom found in people from other states in India belonging to the same socio-economic background.

Becky's bark made me forget the heaviness of not making any progress with my thought and boy I barely managed to hold my ground the time she made a jump for me on all four, and the big pink tongue, making way to my face. We didn't let Becky normally do that, but once in a while with the excuse, sudden rush of emotions, she gets away with licking us on our face. This time I didn't want her to lick on all the dirt on me from across a thousand miles and I asked her to stop and she did. Sat down, the obedient dog and snuggled her face close to my legs. I am very much proud of her and then what was that of her which made me proud, brought in the old friend 'quality' yet again. The quality of living that she been given and the quality of attention that dad been devoting on her, has paid of beautifully and she stands a very tall, healthy, obedient and loving dog. I am proud of her 'quality' !!

I found quality everyplace, now that I looked for it. But yet defining, a task my mind failed to comprehend. Two scribble pads I used while in college, was lying on my table. Some one has been fiddling with my books, but then, it didn't matter, there was nothing that I was afraid to let anyone know. Or maybe it was, I got brains enough to never write down anything which I never wanted the world to know. Hypocrite, the thought on quality brought in a different perspective about myself.

The first page of one note pad read - "middle age is the time when narrowness of the waist and broadness of the mind, exchange places". I don't remember, whether I wrote it actually or just copied it down, I used to write these kind of things once upon a time. Then a note on Prometheus, describing him as, "the man who swept down from the heavens bringing the gift of fire. He changed man from savagery to civility. WRONG MOVE !!" There was nothing more about it also, I don't remember when I wrote that or ever read that. I remember Prometheus, was not sure from 'Ayn Rand' or 'Homer', but the note gave me no clue.

Then the Seven Avocato Postulates (it was a group name, that my friends decided to call ourselves. In reality we never went much beyond making the 7 postulates and Avocato some high school dream, which was tried to be made true at a later stage and never worked.) But the postulates read as fine as everything else from that era of my life:
1. Insanity is the only means of relaxation.
2. It is lonely at the top; but hey, at least you eat better.
3. Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
4. Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large numbers.
6. Aim low, reach your goals, avoid disappointment.
7. Every man is innocent until proven broke.

The 5th postulate was missing, I didn't remember what it actually was, but sure must have been cocky as any one of the other 6. The things which led to these postulates, I don't remember, but the postulates still hold. Some more pages after, I find not my hand writing, but a feminine one and signed, "I was lonely and bored. And you joined me, without me asking for it. Thanks Jo !" The signature gave way the writer not the hand writing, I was clueless. Could have been anyone, my sisters, cousins, friends, romances, the lustful relationships, thankfully the signature cried out her name. The writer of these lines, I met her the very next day by chance, when I had gone to meet my friends. Asked her how she was and thankfully restrained from asking how her husband was, though I knew the guys name and theirs was a marriage which started of with the boy filing a 'habeus corpus' to marry the girl. Something cautioned me about her reply, "ask another friend for my  updates. Loads to tell. I am in a hurry and rushed." The other friend filled in, from habeus corpus to divorce by mutual consent at the threat of a dowry and cruelty complaint, all it took was about 8 to 10 months.

Feels funny, all this talk on trying to describe 'quality', and hours or restlessness and for some few moments, when I was being updated about her, I had completely forgotten 'quality'. Guess metaphysical ventures can take a back stage when wanting to hear news about people !!


  1. That was a 'quality' post!

    'Quality of Life' is something a few economists I knew had taken up for research. I wish one could standardize quality, but it being a metaphysical and subjective concept, varies from person to person. 'Quality' is being true to oneself; that's why your post is a quality post! :-)

  2. First the book, "Zen and the art of..."- read it twice over with great difficulty and little comprehension.Blame it on my faculties and not the great writing.of Priggs.
    Secondly a good post on the subject of Quality.
    I feel quality of life is what counts than the superficial element what we define as quality that is only on the surface and often a mirage.
    we pay only for what that is of use to us and give us value( see value in non economic parlance).Other things do not constitute quality.
    Do they?

  3. quite interesting bob, beautiful description altogether even though ur mind was running away to all the different places.lovely post.

  4. Mr B and Anil - Thanks for the patronage and the great suggestions. It feels awesome when someone actually reads what I scribble and give it a thought..

    I agree about 'quality' being a subjective concept and varies from person to person..and also the 'mirage' nature of quality..more directions to think, laterally again..and might actually in fact prove interesting..

    My tryst with "Zen and .." aint been easy either..feels i am up against a wall most times, but then I have developed a false notion in myself that I aint reading to finish the book or understand been reading the same pages again and again..some pages i liked..sometimes the same lines sets of a different array of thoughts all together and thats quite engaging ;)

  5. SHyama @ the weekend home, shouldn't blame the mind for running about.. but then actually It was all about experiencing 'quality'..
    if the sunday morning break fast plan had worked, U, me, Ousu Sr and Nihad back in cochin, having the morning grub in pajamas, with heated debates to plain gossip, that would have been like re-living an awesome chunk from my college days.. then that was 'quality' yet all over again.. ousu sr always had the 'quality' drinks and 'quality' nerve.. NIhad had a 'quality' system, which never ever gave him a hangover, even if he had been drinking the whole last day and it would be easier keeping tab of bottles than pegs.. me, had a 'quality' of cleanliness back then, or rather an OCD with cleanliness which made me shower before I hit the bed and in turn the hangovers very few.. and finally you, had 'quality' in your attitude back then, the tenacity, which brought you every morning to the Hotel Vrindhavan at Palarivattom, to have a heated talk or maybe a quite time just reading the papers, but the whole process of being out from the hostel at 7, just for grub, while you get food inside, thats the tenacity I been talking...
    haa haa here i go, quality all over again everywhere ;)


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