Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

On different orientation…..

November 7, 2014

A thread about cross-dressing, trans-genders and homosexuality prompted a friend to write the following mythological/religious reference on a mailing list:

Just consider the following:
1. Shiva cross-dressed as Ardhanarishwara

2. Arjuna cross-dressed as Bruhannala

3. Vishnu, not only cross-dressed, but actually “crossed over” as Mohini, had an affair with Shiva and produced Hariharaputra/Shaasta/Ayyappa.

4. We have a tradition that Aravaan, who was Arjuna’s son was expected to die in the next day’s battle—-such was the prophecy. Aravaan was asked as to what his last wish was. He wanted to marry. No one wanted to marry a person who was going to die the next day. Finally a transvestite/Hijra volunteered. That is why Hijras are also called Aravaanis. There are Aravaan temples which are visited by Hijras and others.

5. Many male Krishna-worshippers, even today cross-dress as Radha and worship Krishna.

6. In the 1500-year old Jambukeswara Temple at Tiruvanaikovil near Tiruchirapalli, even today, every day at noon, the priest cross-dresses as a young woman and performs the puja to Shiva.

7. Sakhi and Sakha are all traditions with enormous homoerotic content and are considered entirely legitimate.

8. Khajuraho has sculptures depicting both male homosexuality and lesbianism. At least our ancestors did not feel these were “dirty” for the temple atmosphere. If they are dirty, it is only because the dirt arises in the mind of the beholder.

In fact, cross-dressing, pursuit of androgyny, homo-eroticism, transvestite identities etc. are so common and frequent in Hindu traditions that they do not even call for excess comment. Arjuna, who is one of our great heroes, exhibited signs of bisexuality, cross-dressing and a refreshing androgynous personality. He was known as “Sabyasachi” because he was ambidextrous and could shoot arrows from both hands. The term also captures his inherent androgyny. Quite cool, if you ask me.

My take on homosexuality/lesbianism:

How on earth does it matter who we sleep with, or not? The people we are are what matters. I too have several friends of a different orientation; when they told me so, my response was that I was waiting for the day when it would no longer be necessary to make these statements at all.

Especially in our repressed, hypocritical Indian culture, where even heterosexual activity is so frowned upon, just imagine how tough life must be if one has a different orientation (it’s been proved that this is genetic and not a cultivated choice.)

We can be in denial, as we seem to be often in denial of there being child molesters in so many Indian families. Or…we can accept an aspect of humanity that has existed as long as humanity does. Believe me, as a naturalist, I know that such behaviour is common to other species too. If we remove the moral tag from so many things….smoking, drinking, non-vegetarianism, and others…we would, I feel, be happier people ourselves, accepting those whom we meet for what they are.

I have several friends on both sides of the spectrum, and the good friends are good friends NMW…No Matter What!

When D’s uncle and his partner (they’ve been together for 20+ years now) came to attend DnA’s wedding, we were rather apprehensive about whether they would face whispers and sniggers. But on the other hand, my friends seemed to perceive them as people, and everyone got along so well!

One of my gay friends in Bangalore laughs about the fact that landlords are so against letting an apartment out to a young man and a young woman, and unthinkingly let their homes out to two men or two women.

Let’s just meet and interact with people as people, and not go by the bodies they inhabit! And let’s remember…love is so precious and rare to find in this world, let’s not scorn it because it may come in an unusual garb….pun intended!

I must be careful…

November 5, 2014

A lesson I have learnt from the moon.

I may imagine that I am carefully showing only my illuminated, best parts to the world…but my dark side will also show….

IMG_4275

Two very different destinations

October 12, 2014

We pay a lot of homage
To success.
I’ve been watching a music video.
I see the packed halls;
I see the roaring cheers.
It makes me think about the road to this place, Success…
The gigs in small towns, the half-empty places,
The wondering if, after all,
One has the staying power
That, allied (or not) to talent
Could reach that elusive goal….Success.
The road that leads to Success
Can often curve, imperceptibly,
Into the blind alleys of Failure, too.
Success and Failure are like the two faces
Of Janus; one looking forward into the light,
The other, fading into the dimness, the darkness,
Of oblivion, sinking away into the numbers
That are described, in racing parlance,
As “also-rans”.
The efforts that lead to Failure
Are no less than those that fetch up at Success.
I feel for those who end up at the wrong destination….

The music video that brought this on:

Beauty defies time….

September 30, 2014

IMG_2386

We may exist for a minute;
Our size may be minute;
But, in the little time it has…
The fly is iridiscent,
It brings life to the metallic shine.
The casual passerby
Takes a second look,
And stands, transfixed
At the shimmer of colour, and shadows.
When the leaves leave
And the fly flies,
The memory of the fleeting moment
Remains, etched in the mind…

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.

​I 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

DSC08281 STL 240814

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:

IMG_6759

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….


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