Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Reflections on Krishna Jayanti (Janmashtami)

September 16, 2014

A friend on a mailing list had talked about Krishna, and said:

Surprisingly, the word Krishna means dark/ black color. However this had not affected his immense popularity.

One point occurs to me, visiting St.Louis at a time when division based on the colour of one’s skin is more pronounced than ever, in this deeply segregated city.

‚ÄčI personally find the “dark/black colour” of Krishna has been sanitized in Indian folklore (like Rama’s skin colour, too!) to a purple-blue, from the actual dark grey that “megha varNam” is…the rain-bearing monsoon clouds certainly don’t have a hue other than that!

I have heard so many Indian people claim, with righteous pride, “We venerate dark gods.” It is precisely these people, for whom the colour of even a god seems important, who seem more intolerant of darkness of skin in humans.

I think it is the other qualities of Krishna…his romantic allure, his people skills, and indeed, his crafty statesmanship…that account for his popularity.That, and his association with music, and the allied “lalit kala” (fine arts.)

I can never help being impressed by the subtlety by which he ensured that the Pandavas’ representative, Arjuna, got the first choice of his guidance in the war. (He asked one Pandava and one Kaurava to come and sit next to him, and ask their boons when he awoke. Arjuna devotedly sat at his feet as he slept, and Duryodhana proudly sat at his head. This ensured that on waking, Krishna saw Arjuna first, and gave him the first choice. Arjuna chose Krishna, and the Kauravas got Krishna’s armies. It does intrigue me that Krishna, knowing in advance the outcome of the war, so easily sacrificed his loyal soldiers on the battlefield.)

In Anjana’s high school Hindi text book (probably Class 5 or 6, in the early nineties) there was a prose passage which dealt with Krishna, not as a god, but as an excellent statesman and leader of the various tribes which made up the kingdoms around Mathura.

I thought that Rahi Masoom Reza’s characterization of Krishna in the famous TV serial as a mischieviousm impish person, not above the occasional deviousness and political stratagem, is very human, and sticks close to the persona that most of our literature and music talk about.

God or man? The choice is ours to make, based on our faith, or lack of it.

Walking into the sunset, 250814

August 27, 2014

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When, in stories, a person “walks into the sunset”, there are no pages left in the book (except, perhaps, of a listing of other books by the same author, or similar books.) But in real life…life goes on. There may not be any conclusion of the hopes–and fears– that the person carries along…and the next sunrise awaits.

I, me, myself

August 22, 2014

I do not know who I am.
I seem to be an uneven mix
Of so many persons;
Someone’s daughter
(Though that person
Is now, several years,
In the past tense)
Someone’s sister
(Also in the past)
A friend to several people,
The wife of one man
To whom I gave several decades
Before that, too
Slipped into the past.
I am the butt of many jokes
The object of scorn to many;
Yet others regard me with affection.
I too have given my heart,
For life:
I am the mother of one,
The mother-in-law of one,
And the grandmother of two.
I feel, though, that sometimes
One person in me predominates
Over the others.
What I would like to be
Is a complete person:
An amalgam, a balanced mix
Of these people who live
And breathe within me.
But I seem to be more
Like a Ferris wheel
Where first one person,
And then another
Rise to the top, and the others
Sink below into unheeded
Oblivion. Where is the singer?
The theatre critic? The writer?
The quizzer? The lover of languages?
Where am I? Who am I?
I am mixed, indeed…and do not know.

Time

August 20, 2014

The days pass by
Like small notes
Slipped under the door
To someone who will come home
Only later.
Later is a time that arrives
Almost at once;
And the moment that makes up the present
Becomes the past, with each tick
Of the clock;
Living only in memory.
Existing only in chronicles and history.
Life slips away
In the leaves, torn daily,
From the calendar
That mark the inexorable passage
Of time…and our lives upon this earth.

Safety and security, STL, 170814

August 19, 2014

Yesterday I went to

<a href=”http://www.academyofsciencestl.org/calendar/functions/popup.php?ev=2456888&readFile=0&readSQL=1&showCat=&oc=1″&gt; this event </a>

at the St.Louis Zoo auditorium.

I had not read in detail about the extinction of Passenger Pigeons in the US (where a population of several billion birds was wiped out, purely because of human intervention), and it was a revelation to me.

However, I did not want to call on DnA to pick me up from the Zoo auditorium and I walked back. As I did, I mused on safety and security. There was nothing different about my walking back at about 9pm from the Zoo auditorium, across Forest Park, back home, I usually do it during Muny shows, Shakespeare-in-the-Park, or the Royal Philharmonic on Art Hill (it took me about half an hour, you can go to Google maps and look at the St.Louis Zoo, and look for Christ Deliverance Ministry, Enright Ave…you’ll know where I walked) I usually cut across the grass, not always keeping to the roads. I was wondering, yesterday, if walking in the dark was a wise thing to do. Then I told myself that the fears were mostly in my own mind and perception…in fact, it was probably safer now than before the Ferguson incident,
(here’s a video of John Oliver’s take on it:

…actually, with so many police cars on the prowl ! I walked uneventfully back home. (It does help that I am a “black” person, not white, I suppose, in this area!)

So much of our fears are in our own perceptions, coloured by our own prejudices…where should we draw the line between genuine concerns and our own timorousness?

The trouble in the US is the stupid gun culture. I might be walking far away from any know source of trouble, and might get cut down by a stray bullet! Well, at the end of it all, I believe it’s Fate…and I walk briskly, not loitering. And when I’ve got home safely, I like the feeling that I didn’t give in to the feeling of “Oh, what might happen to me!” and just call DnA to leave their hectic chores and come and pick me up!

But IF something had happened, I would have been reviled for my foolhardiness…how to know, in advance, if my fears are well-founded or groundless? No way, alas, but to put it to the test, and walk home!

Chakra and yantra, 040814

August 4, 2014

When was tending his bike, he asked me to take this snap of the cycle gears:

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This was mounted on the bicycle wheel, which is called “chakra” in Sanskrit. It has 10 gears…or levels.

It reminded me of a spiritual aid, that has been worshipped for centuries in Hindu culture:

800px-Sri_Chakra_3D

(Pic from the net.)

Here is the wiki entry about

The Sri Chakra or the Sri Yantra

Which has nine levels.

How apt, I felt, that the cycle, which is a “yantra” or instrument, has two “chakras”, with gears that so closely resemble an ancient “chakra” or “yantra”!

Kinetic energy does not, after all, seem to change much over many centuries!And cycling is a religion for many….

The sadness of peace

July 21, 2014

In the middle of the whirlwind.
There is, too, the peace
That is the aftermath of war
And toil, and struggle:
This peace is not always happy.
This may be the peace of death, of regrets
Of waste, of what might have been.
Is this sad peace, the deteritus of destruction,
Always welcome? Is peace always better than war?
Peace…without serenity, without prosperity
Is just the cessation of foul acts
Without the hope of its continuance.
Peace can often be
Tears in a widow’s eye
A maimed limb,
The passing of what was good and happy
In a life lived just a while ago.
Peace can the quietness
Of the broken body of a girl,
Mauled bestially, and left to bleed.
Peace can be the loneliness
In a home when one partner has walked out.
Peace can be the quite of a crash site
Where people are looking for bodies.
Peace…not welcome when it’s just a piece
Of conflict, pain and sorrow.

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The departure

July 2, 2014

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I saw this scene,
It was a metaphor to me.
When the soul wants to leave
The cage, and depart
For the spaces beyond,
It cannot wait.
It needs no gates or pathways;
Through the very bones,
Through the grid,
It passes, leaving behind
Just the shell of what was once inhabited.
The fence cannot hold it back
Once the call for departure comes.
Mute, devoid of the presence
That has gone,
The fence stands, just showing
How, inside it, once, was a soul
That is now free.

Life, and letting go……

June 28, 2014

I am Sweden for a few weeks; when I went around a jumble sale yesterday, I had no cash whatsover, and even if I had some, I knew I would only be accumulating junk that would be of no use to me or the person I am staying with. This allowed me to go around the sale area without buying anything.

IMG_1527

Coming back home, I mused upon the fact that this is a metaphor for my life, too. If I lack the cash (the ability to get attached to something) I can go through life enjoying everything without getting too attached to it, bringing it “home” and being lumbered with it….

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At the jumble sale, I had a credit card that was not accepted. I accept that I do need some money….some attachment…to get me through life…but how can I ensure that I will have only the really important attachments? At the jumble sale, the decision was taken for me, but in life, I will have to make these decisions…and my mind is too fickle, too caught by what is glittering and meretricious, and I squander away my peace of spirit for “baggage” that only weighs me down….

IMG_1522

After my divorce, when KM moved out of the house, he was kind enough to have the apartment painted before my return. He’d packed a lot of bric-a-brac away, like the Swarovsky crystal, my collection of Ganeshas, the life-like miniature vegetables I bought in Dakshineswar….and I have never bothered to unpack them, since I returned (this was in 2012.) I actually feel the relief of not having to dust and clean them regularly….I have learnt, therefore, to shed *some* baggage. But the journey of learning to let go, is still very long….

Interesting People

June 6, 2014

I find almost everyone I meet interesting! Whether it is a random encounter or it turns out to be a long-term friendship..from one end of the spectrum to the other, I rarely meet people whom I actively dislike (though it happens, of course.)

I travelled back from Delhi to Bangalore by train recently. My co-passenger was a lady who described how and why she took a doctorate in Hindi literature…and how she decided that she would marry a medical doctor (she did so).

The coach attendant was a young man who described how financial pressure made him take on a job as a catering hey-you on the Indian Railways; twelve years later, his job is still “temporary”, but his description of it, and the people HE meets, was fascinating!

On a training program recently, I met someone disabled by polio, who found a career where, he said, his disability would not matter…he is a deep-sea diver. He told me about submarine life-forms off the coasts of South America.

So…the contact may be the brief, odd dash of pepper, or the sustained, staple rice-and-buttermilk…I find almost all people interesting, sometimes, even the ones I dislike, as I try to analyse why I find them nasty. :D


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