MoW Series | Songs of My Being

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Source for Music | https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=BiqlZZddZEo&list=PLcEy-T4jgO419cM9pUNkCSBATH5eo4bVT

Music without words bring back the soul’s oldest tales. While listening to the Celtic music, I find myself in the cold early morning on a tired horse with just my bow, arrows, a sturdy sword at my side, as I look on at the destination that I need to reach far into the future, yet I am caught in this moment. I tell myself, oh! Being you are the lost soul fighting it out on the terrains, that refuse to be subdued by your warrior prowess. Listen then, to the nature, that calls out in this cold mountains, green yet cold. I let out a sigh and the steam from breath escaping from inside me flows out. I watch with wonder the changing forms of the clouds.

I park my horse and loosen his gridle, at least one of us could be relaxed and rested. I sit down as the rain starts to pour down with great force. I am transported to the moment of warm fire by the hearth, as I listen to the sound of lutes and flutes playing in the back drop. An old fairy tale of trapped lute player in the labyrinth of internal maze of underground channels, frequented by fairy and ethereal being. Old songs and new ones mingle and become a single unit in my being.

I fasten my sweater button hoping to get warmer, yet the being is lost in the past. Life moves to a different dimension within the space of the trickling rain drop. As suddenly as it started to rain, likewise, did it stop. I could now hear the dripping of the raindrops from the leaves and I time my breath with it. The dripping drops and my heart beat become synchronized into single line of connection.

The mind is transported to the desert landscape were the heat rises with each meridian that the sun crosses on the blue dome. I look up and I am stranded on the desert sands seeking some being. The heat melts the being and the soul could be seen through the endless traverse lay before this lone traveller who stands mesmerised by the sand dunes standing as unshakable mountains of fine sand.

The mind swirls as the wind picks up and the whole sand dune changes place and the way is lost to be explored any further. I take a deep breath and decide to climb the sand dune as the wind blows vigorously. I should have done it the Ostrich style and dug my head in and waited for the storm to abate. Yet this soul didn’t wish to do that, but carried on in an effort to find the way in times of great distress.

Then the wind stopped and stilled all of sudden, I picked some sand in my hand and slowly released it from the tight hold of my hand. The sand fell straight, and all was quiet. I could see far away an Oasis with camels, travellers and life. I try to walk towards the place hoping for some companionship. The closer I got, they were not anymore to be found, I take a deep breath and my mind moves to the edge of the city limit. I see the Chinese Pagoda and a garden of Cherry blossom trees, somehow the cold is back on my spine.

The garden of butterflies invited the being to find solace in the flight of these creature which struggles to come into being. I watch a caterpillar struggling and munching on a mulberry leaves unable to go beyond. The inner butterfly which needs to incubate and to grow within so that the first fight and first flight is truly an exceptional occurrence. There is much in the moment when the butterfly comes to its full existence. I see the beauty of the colours of their wings bring joy of life to the mind.

I watch on as the butterfly slowly emerges from the cocoon and I find my rebirth in an exceptional sense as if I am born again. I feel the spirit of the butterfly ebb and flow in my heartbeat. I synchronize it again, with each of its flap, my heart flutters and I can feel my heartbeat within my rib cage. I have found a beautiful connection within my being, as I was the butterfly, and someone was watching the beautiful birth of my being.

I slowly walk towards the butterfly and try to touch it, but then the fire engulfs from the setting sun and I am transported to my old home at Srivatsam, I am seated on the overhead tank facing the south. The full moonlight floods the space staying directly above me. The Water tank, Me, the Moon, The Southern stars in the firmament all become one. It is the cold of Marghzai and I see the Lord my ultimate goal recede from my eyes. The heart skips a beat and look around to see darkness and the moon is no longer close to the earth, but far away in the sky, a mere simple white dot.

I shut my eyes in the hope to bring back the images of being close to the one and the only creator of everything big and small. For a moment, I am caught in the sound of night and I breath again to start to connect with the past database and find myself in the present. I am seated on the sofa in the living room, with headphones on and an orange laptop Lenovo Yoga. I feel the pink of my dress mingles with purple of the sofa cover as I draw from the past a sense of calm as the meditation on words comes to a close. I have been writing for half-an hour while listening to the Celtic music for relaxation. The present mingles with the warm feeling of the summer gently gathering me in its arm as I become the summer girl in my mind and soul.

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Om Tat Sat, Om Shanthi Om.

A Personal Favorite Poet Who Inspires My Work

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Poetry is my passion and I love to work with words. It has been my companion since my coming of Age days. I have found innumerable moments of pleasures reading and writing poems. I have a few favorites who have shaped my thoughts and emotions over the growing years. Among them is John Milton, his “Paradise Lost” was a compulsory reader for me during my college years. It was part of the books listed for the Poetry paper and I was so moved by Lucifer’s fall that I wondered at the space of information about the fall that Milton explored. Here is a poem which truly inspires me and is still my personal favorite.

On His Blindness

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Exploring the Poem My Style

The last two weeks, I have been experiencing some problem with my eyesight and somehow I panicked to have it tested. I wear progressive spectacles and never learned how to look down in the lower rim to read, so I land up having the habit of lifting my spectacles to read.

The first time, I went to Rajan Eye Clinic, I was seen by Dr. Rajan, himself. He was the first doctor after my family doctor who made me comfortable talking to him. That was the first time that my eyes were dilated and the eyesight took some hours to get better. These days due to overuse of laptop has rendered my eyes incapable of being dilated and so the extra drops to force it to dilate. This then, means that it takes longer to settle down. I am slowly learning to give up my fear of hospitals and being in those spaces.

Somehow hospital experience leaves me in a state of unrest and agitated feelings. There are very few doctors who really take time for the patients to settle down and understand that the person is worried, scared and tensed about the outcome. Even if the sight were to be lost completely a humane doctor can make it seem less stressful.

Somehow, I feel that is something that comes from the old school of hospice, which is slowly been taken away by the money making trends of doctorhood. But this time, the doctor who attended my case was truly humane and I was so happy talking to her. She made me less nervous and this time also I had made sure that I had not come in a rush to have my eyes tested, but relaxed to spend the rest of the day in the hospital.

But surprisingly, my reading power had gone by a few points, of course, I still need to learn to look down using the progressive glass and that happens only when my laptop is on my lap and I am comfortably seated on the sofa. I tried to understand, why is that I feel super inspired at home and my quirks of working are really getting me to be such a clown.

So, I looked into my past and I remembered John Milton who is my inspiration for most of the Miltonian sonnets that I wrote in my young days. I love to play with words since it gives me spiritual pleasure. Everywhere I worked, I would have a word file, where I would have written poems.

I often think about why I have been born in this world and what are truly my roles. The fact that I only have a single-minded talent to write with emotions which I believe would be the gift of words that I leave behind after me.

I fear not death so much as to lose my eyes not just for myself but for others too. Then again, there is much technology that will help to live a life of high quality even when the eyesight is lost. It is not how long you live, but how well you live, that really counts. I have learned to accept some of my quirks and have gathered sufficient courage in life to be able to handle things my way.

So talking about this poem, I first read this poem in seventh or eighth I am not sure. I must say that my English classes were of a higher grade than the regular schools. So I was exposed to much poetry at a very early age. I also had my uncle’s library where I checked out a collection of Shakespearean sonnets and plays. My uncle had a good collection of the bound classics which were truly inspiring to read.

I have been a little careless with my eyes and I love to read lying down and removing my spectacles. This kind of makes my vision power to increase, but the pleasures of reading is taken over by even the risk of reading improperly.

I found in this poem an interesting connection, that I am drawn to explore. For instance, much like John Milton, my eyes even now hurts a little and throbs, as I am exploring the poems as personal experience. I will never give up writing, at whatever cost. That passion has been the founding stone of my very being.

So much like Milton, I do have a question for the Lord, if I would be of any service to Him. But it is all in the patient waiting for the call of the muse and the sanction of inspired writing. There are days when, my inspiration to write is so high, especially when I am well rested.

As Milton, the poet who is close to my spirit of writing, because I am a tone-deaf poet who loves to rhyme, unlike Milton whose poems were all about sounding right. I have written some collection of Petrachian sonnets and enjoyed thoroughly the experience of playing with words. Sometimes, it is not about doing as bid by the Lord; but it is more being in the moment and just transferring the text flashing in the mind’s eye. I sometimes feel that I cannot take ownership of the poems written by me because it was just recording the muse’s words. Now I stand in wait for that command to write from my Creator. Waiting for my inspiration with suspended animation.

Outcasted Life in Colors of Social Inequalities

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Book Title: Two Leaves and A Bud

Author: Mulk Raj Anand

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: Amazon

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Mulk Raj Anand’s style of writing sets the reader to think deeply and it also evokes a reaction from the reader. I read this book as part of my Indian Writing in English course, in the second year of my BA (English Literature). It is a fact that English Writers of Indian origin spoke of highly serious topics such as caste and social discrimination. Or it could be that the choice of Writers were the ardent freedom struggle activists. Some Writers used humour while some believed in holding the note of deep contemplation in place during the course of their narratives about the British rule in India.

It was almost like Gangu’s the protagonist and his family’s troubles were never ending and the way out of the situation does not seem available anywhere. In that way, the plot’s moment of happiness was also colored by the protagonist’s non-achievable delusion of future happiness. While reading Anand’s work, I felt it, that it was a rather overload of sadness which kept lining the story from start to finish. It was never dropped even during those small happy moments in the life of the major characters. In this Anand reminded me of Charles Dicken’s writing keeps making things harder, especially to find even a moment of joy in any described situations in story.

The Story in a Nutshell

A Farmer of Amritsar who has lost his land to the moneylenders is forced to move out of his familiar hometown to an unfamiliar state in Assam where he struggles in the pathetic condition to just live one day after another with his family being safe. What happens to his family and to him in the new place and how the contractor just painted a life of prosperity which turned to nothing but a mirage of horror.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the intensity with which Anand wrote this story. There is no rest from the constant feeling of desperation and desire that something good would happen makes a refrain in the mind’s of the reader; but then, there were no breaks. The strength of a human’s mindset of hope that keeps ebbing and flowing through our being is reflected in Gangu and his family too. But eventually, reality strikes and everything is just darkness. I also liked the flow of words when I read it and it felt like I was living in the British rule era.

What I disliked was the few characters major evil ones, but they were the plot progressing villains who were the catalyst to moving ahead of the story. But I think if you can make some character to be hated by the reader, then the readers are invested in your story and the protagonist.

That way, this book had a lot of interesting paragraphs where the author’s ability to describe the scene and emotions of the characters comes out very well. This novel was very sad and at the end of it, you are happy because it was a definite tragedy and it is a little over the top with injustice hanging on the hinges. But then, it kind of opens up the mind’s eye towards what could possibly be the reason for the existence of such discrimination and why is that the fellow human beings do not have the basic rights in their life and working condition.

The human’s rights are violated in the working condition of the plantation at every given point. This leaves a sense of constant injustice which becomes a given fact of the contracted workers’ life. That sense of injustice and inequality really gets to you when you read this novel.

My Opinion

The fact that I had to read this novel as a compulsory novel of the Indian Writing in English paper, I felt a sense of dark brooding when I read it. I don’t pick books which are unhappy, but then being socially aware is also part of the deal to read up books that are written with sadness in it.

I do want to read up literary works of Indian Writers, but their grammar is so hard and that of the Wren and Martin variety. But then you have rare thoughts of progress and advancement from these Writers which moves one’s sense of right. But I was someone who enjoyed styles of varied kind. If I read for a specific time a specific style, then, I tend to be able to pick it up.

Like for instance, there was a time, when I kept reading Shakespeare’s plays and landed up being able to read like natural English. I side poetry more than prose. Anand’s prose was one such pleasure to read, but the subject left me depressed and a little disappointed about the inequalities in a society of that time.

The people who live in the delusion that all is well and continue life in stupor, sometimes need to get their jolt in novels such as these. The novel brings out the oppression in plain statements and in turn showing this mirror of society the reader is not given any space to escape. I believe if the book does that to you, then you are reading an exceptional writer’s work.

Image Source: Amazon Online

L’sLT Series | Finding Peace In Confusion and Cluelessly Figuring Out

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So, a few months back in December 2018 I believe, that all channels were advertising for channel selection and TRAI rules and regulation. I, for my part, was sure cool, I could see it and there was so many an actor explaining it. But for me, I was clueless, I only understood that I had to pick a family pack or Mera walla pack. Guess what do I do, I wait for these guys to call me and ask! Urgh! But no one called and one fine day channels started disappearing. I am in like ‘where are my channels?’ – a questioning mode, while I am looking on clueless as ever?

This led to a fictionalized mixed reality of creative non-fiction which of course I am enjoying writing. I do not have anything against anyone, but just that when procrastination leads to a mess eventually which becomes harmful for the procrastinator. These last-minute rescue decision-making has become a way of life for me, which I am trying to change. But sadly, not even the 48 days or oru manadalam (Ayurvedic time duration of a medicine course) practice seems to be working.

So let us talk about doing the right thing at the right time is the wise thing; while a right action, if delayed then, it is not the right action at all. Most of our life’s situations are time-bound and some require an instant decision, while some can afford to be thought over before arriving at a decision.

So why is taking a quick on the spot decision is so vital? My life is filled with decision taking on a daily basis and it is nothing different or unique about it. But over the years, I have started to learn how to take the decision not just for me but on behalf of others too. There are moments when I want to chew on a decision like a cow’s cud process time, but then time is premium so some decision is taken on the spot.

When you take decision for yourself and if things go wrong despite one’s best efforts, then it is easier to just tell ourselves that we will live with it. But when the decision is on behalf of others, then I become super conscious of the extent of responsibility that lies on my shoulder.

There are moments when I freeze while taking a decision, then it starts the chain of events and choices. The postponing of decision-making has a huge impact on a later date. In my earlier days, I was such a free spirit who never thought again of any decision, made a choice and then move on, was my attitude. Even today, I have that free-spirit surprising me with its presence. There is much that is mysterious in life among them is my logically processing to a decision.

I always keep thinking, that should one take the instincts’ hint or think it through logically and then take a decision? A Egg and Hen question. My twisted logic series is a different track altogether, maybe should be another of this series entry. So, for instance, there are moments when I am completely in swirls of logic because I think in circles and it can be very tiring. I love to keep pondering and if the material I am pondering on is literary then, I am super happy.

For instance, when you need to take a decision on a text, even though I don’t know it that well, it seems easier to decide, but not with live people. But I have improved by far in these many years of experience with collaborating with people. Honestly people are far more fun and you learn with them too. I still feel that taking a decision on behalf of others is very super tricky. But then, if we must, then we must. The rule of my thumb is to make sure it is for the common good for all involved.

Eventually, the act of decision making is sometimes art and sometimes science, but then also an experiential learning that grows the being and the spirit. I wish there were some quotes to give away as I think of all these wonderful things about decision-taking the swamps around my thoughts. Life is about upgrading non-stop and don’t settle quickly.

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L’sLT | Humour In Written and Visual Format

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The inspiration to write Life’s Like That series came up from my past reading experience. I used to read Reader’s Digest with great pleasure and I believe they have a section in their book titled “Life’s Like That” which tickles my funny bones.

Life’s Like That is my favourite section has cheered me many times when things did not look great. I check out the Laughter the Best Medicine and Life’s Like That, Humor in Uniform are the sections that I read first and then go in for other more emotional articles. Somehow, in these sections, I feel the best part of quick wit is seen.

I always felt close to humour because it lightens the situation. Given the fact that my siblings are better at humour than I am. I am never succinct in any situation, I am an over-the-top garrulous person who loves talking non-stop nonsense. For good humour is sure to be killed if you are not able to sharpen the narrative for the right impact.

That reminds me of Non-Stop Nonsense, a German comedy show which was hilarious. It was a voiceless comedy show. I believe if you have humour in you, then you can make anyone laugh. These days, I have a very rare opportunity to laugh out loud. I have subscribed to Comedy Central; but then, I don’t know where in the maze of channels it is listed! I think I need to find it, one of these days.

I think I liked the DD days when you were given programs in a ration. From 6:30 pm to 10 pm, then DD goes to sleep showing dancing dots on the screen. I think that was much better than the 24/7 shows. Of course, there are far more thrilling and exciting shows now. Since, when you see a drama in DD it just looks like a stage play. But these days we get VFX rendered dramas, yoohoo!

So, getting back to humour in the text, I believe it allows the mind to think with a sense of being wiser somehow. The reading of a joke is far different from seeing a humour filled drama or scene. We have become so much about visual and audio that flash on our mobiles, that a no-nonsense text just plain does not go well down our consumption tube.

But I am an old timer, for me reading the books is very important, these days it the Kindle. I love words and when they invoke a burst of joyous laughter, I am thrilled. There is a different kind of witty response, but the ones that leave you baffled are the best wit for me. I love seeing Standup comedy. Among the various Facebook post, I liked ones that had Standup Comedy links. Sorabh Pant’s comedy though not the best, but yeah kinda cool. By God, I got no idea how I got him in my friend’s list. Anyway, I don’t regret it, but I don’t know about Sorabh though. Ama yaar khanh phasgaye hum! Most probably.

Anyway, the skill of telling a joke is almost like the ability to pause, fast forwarding and even it out in the narration of the joke. I had a book on Sardaji jokes, I tell you, it was hilarious, I believe the best thing about humour is its ability to remove stress and to makes life more human somehow.

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Nightingale Diary 2019 | My Tryst with Diaries

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The year 1988 was significant because it was the time of my maximum changes. I was growing, changing and figuring myself out, and everything was a part of the process of growing up. I had a lot of things happening in my life and for the first time in my life, I felt joy since I could pour my thoughts into a journal. I believe around the Summer of 1987, I wrote my first poem on the four seasons and partly the reason why, even today, I want to read Ṛtusaṃhāra (ऋतुसंहार) in the originally written language.

When I came to know the four flat seasons that I had described was of no comparison to the power-packed English version of Ṛtusaṃhāra (ऋतुसंहार). I hoped and prayed that I could write so movingly like Kavi Kālidāsa (कालिदास).

These days I refrain from writing journals and have switched to analyzing the text and performing a high-level exposition to find the core values that I hold in my life. I have always been a very closed person, so I find it difficult to connect with people. But with books and texts, I am totally in connected mode.

I have never bought diaries for myself. Because usually, my father would give me his company’s complementary diary that he would have ordered to gift it to his clients. So when I planned to get a diary, he would simply hand me that year’s copy of the diary. I was happy with it since it had a lot of lines for me to fill.

I used to write in those diaries and sometimes 1989 diary would have entries till 2000. I never stopped writing diaries and I don’t know at what point I started to maintain an Online journal in MSWord format. Around 2001 I believe I began holding Journal Yeared online versions. Things became a lot more different with an online journal and somehow I never wrote as often as I did my physical diary.

But let me backtrack a little here. When I first wrote these diary entries, pouring my very soul in it, I found a sense of peace at the end of the exercise. It was almost cathartic feeling. One more interesting thing is that I always picked Reynold’s Bold pen to write. I liked it to be over thick ink stains on the pages with my hand clearly printed and which spoke of me, as someone who was over-emotional. I am over emotional to a fault sometimes, but then, I try to meditate on words and find my balance.

After many years, this January 2019, I got a book from the Nightingale Brand of Diaries in Amazon. For some reason that I cannot seems to bring myself to explain, I was fascinated with a specific type of diary. I couldn’t stop myself from buying it, but then, I didn’t have a huge budget for the diary. So I spent Rs. 135/- from Satish Sellers since I like the Diary pattern. It was about environmental themes.

When I got the B6 Diary with my favorite elements in it, my heart felt a joy of the Summer of 1987 when I wrote my first poem, which was a well-kept secret for a long time. For me, diaries are an essential way to connect with my inner being. I usually meditate with words. Even now as I am writing this there are parts of my thoughts which are clearing and expressions get refined.

But more to the Diary that I got, I am not writing a long statement in the Nightingale Diary, but merely connecting dots of thoughts to mark my understanding. This diary is used more for work and writing life. I can write my heart out on my father’s company diary and I am still searching for a diary that will allow me to pour my soul in it.

I think I miss those days when my diary and I would spend countless hours just being ourselves. My diary silent and listening; while I am garrulous and expressive. To this day, there no one as close as a diary in my life. I find my peace and joy in it.

Somehow MS Word didn’t feel like a person and a close friend just like Anne Frank’s kitty. I think I need to find my journal again and start writing my heart out. Sometimes, when you leave your heart out on your sleeve, people will squash it and leave you bruised; but a diary would never hurt you like that. That compassionate, non-judgemental diary is a gift to the shy and the social outcasts.

But overall, I was happy with the Ecologic version of the Diary even though I felt guilty that I have bought a diary for the first time in my life. I have always used leftover books and father’s company diary for my journal entries. I want to revive my writing habit and get back to verbally analyzing things in my life in written format.

I am working in the very company that makes Nightingale Diaries and much more strong branded products that take me back to my first love at first sight poem to the seasons of India. Of course, I am looking at what my life is leading me up to with all the new experiences.

In that way, my diary entries in the Nightingale brand diary is more succinct and that is not my old self. I want to probe into the very being of my self and discover myself again in restructured words and be the change that I seek within me.

My every company that I worked was always about spiritual growth for me. I go by my father’s adage if you are given a task then persistently do it until you finish it. Over the years, words have been the tools that I took to the work table and never regretted it.

Words move me, sway me, rock me to sleep, or just plain cathartic process. I want to revive hand journal writing with my special brand of pen Reynolds Bold. Someday, I would revive my passion of the first journal entry which I shared with my brother after many years. He read it and smiled and gave it back to me that felt like an encouragement to me.

 

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Podi from the Online Outlet Idlies

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How many of you can remember your patti’s kaipakkuvum? I come from a joint family system where uncles, aunts and galore of cousin team up to make an experience well worth it. A brahmin household is teamed with specific food items which are exclusive to that community.

Our signature food items come in a set. Like Vetrikuzhumbu with Parruppu Thovaiyal, Sutappalam with tomato rasam seasoned in ghee and spluttered mustard, Adai with Avaiyal and Idli with Milagaipodi.

Ah! When I think of Milagaipodi, I am reminded of my mother, I learned the making this side-dish from her. When she religiously makes it and the visitors praise her effort, I think my mother felt great pride in her cooking.

Since the making of podi quantity was for a larger audience, so, I felt it was easier to buy them for just a single user. I have been searching for that specific amma’s brand of milgaipodi and have been sadly disappointed. Since even the Sharada Stores ones also was not close to Amma’s style. About a few days back one of my new friends suggested that I try Idlies an outlet of all Brahmin cuisine to check out the Podi.

I was nervous but then, I knew I am being guided by the authentic source. When I tried the Podi this past Saturday, I was lost in thoughts and missed my mom the most. I felt sentimental and remembered how my grandmother used to have idles, podi and curd combo.

There are some stylistic preferences that one would almost remember WB Yeats’ poem A Prayer for My Daughter, where he explains how girls eat crazy salads. In many ways, life is about food and various unique ways that people have it. Like for instance, having curd rice with mixture or omapodi. There are some really weird combos and I have such preferences too.

The interesting part was the fact that Podi’s package had one of the best themes and the color combo was simply fantastic. The touch of color scheme and the caricature of grandmom with the little girl in the kitchen was such a wonderful design theme.

But I am more used to the Meenakshi Ammal “Cook And See” the every new bride’s mother’s gift to her daughter. I tell you, Meenakshi Ammal used words that were hard to understand. She spoke about how to cook rice on Vengalapanai. Of course, she would describe how to do the scare thing of draining excess water.

But there was much that I learned from cooking various dishes. My mother taught me a few signature dishes which I kept repeating but I would experiment too sometimes. There are days when I feel like cooking up a storm and there are days when I would not move my being to even boil water.

But there are days, when I feel truly inspired to create a most complicated dish I take all efforts. Pappaji loved my subzi and amma didn’t like Northern spices. So I had to strike a balance for both of them. Among the many things, there is a certain food that reminds me of specific people in my family.

Food always brings the family together and binds us in a common understanding of people who you love-hate and everything in between. Podi reminded me of three people when I tasted with my idlies. My athai who passed away recently and she was a rock of Gibraltar in the kitchen. The food preparation was a joint effort of all the brothers, daughters-in-law and athai. Athai used to be the main cook with my mother making sure she gets the ingredients that are needed. So when my athai makes Podi it is wonderful to taste.

The brahmin household is never bereft of this ingredient. It is a quick breakfast side-dish solution. If you are pressed for time and cannot make the chutney, use the Podi, the all-purpose side-dish for Idly and Dosa. If the hunger factor is beyond a bearable point, pull a plate, make some quick swish Dosas and have it with podi. The countless joy of having that podi was to refresh the mind of past memories of my childhood.

 

Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita Volume 2 | My Notes

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Book Title: Thiruppavai – Godai’s Gita | Volume 2

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha’s narrative style has the old South Indian tradition of storytelling clubbed with loosely knit story format that works wonderfully for this commentary on Andal’s Thiruppavai. There are so many micro short stories woven with such sensitivity that it is an experience of being in a timeless boat floating on the oceans of never-ending stories.

The Story in a Nutshell

Goda, the composer and the versatile story weaver of the Thiruppavai brings out the deep-seated desire of the girls in Ayaripadi to celebrate and to get Lord Krishna’s exclusive companionship. Goda in this volume is visiting every missing girls’ house to personally awake them from their slumber to join in the Pavai Nombu celebration.

The Volume 2 stories are as compelling as those from the volume 1. These are small incidences picked from various Puranas and Vedic time stories. She also picks up stories from the contemporary era too, when she talks about the Alwars who lived before her and their life stories. The never-ending link of stories and facts of the rites provides for an entertaining conversation among the girls.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all little and big stories. I didn’t feel tired from the constant deviations from the main event of the Pavai Nombu. The stories felt like an ambling aging river carries with slush pile of silt in its bed. The time spent on the three girls in Goda’s list of missing girls is well spent on learning so many interesting news bites about the Lord and His gracious benevolence towards His devotees.

Some of the stories were rehashed, but then, they still were entertaining to listen to again. For someone like me, if you are also interested in listening to stories then this Kindle book will entertain you immensely. There is a lot of information about the various religious figureheads and stories related to them are narrated with equal passion with which the other Puranic stories are narrated.

My Opinion

The Volume 2 keeps the interest going while providing new information about where the Pavai Nombu gathering has arrived at. This volume may be spent on waking up the girls, but at the same time, there is a lot happening with the internal cleansing process. With every discussion and arguments with the Goda and her friends to wake the missing girls, the internal thought is cleared and focused on Lord Krishna and his many avatars.

Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita Volume 1 | My Take

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Book Title: Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita | Volume 1

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha Sundaram an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her narrative style was exactly like the ones of my grand aunts who would entertain my siblings, cousins and me with stories from various Puranas. Her narrative had a similar fault of meandering through the maze of stories.

Of course, there is no doubt that the stories are so interesting that you would not mind being deviated from the main course. In this volume, she sets the stage for the pasurams by providing a wonderful introduction to the primal God Varahar Perumal. She informs the origin of the thought seed of Thiruppavai to the moment when the Earth got saved by Varahar Perumal.

The first volume covers five pasurams and the main space is provided to the beginning and the life story of Godai and how her adoptive father Periyalvar found her under the Holy Basil plant. Her brilliance as a child and her love for Perumal is beautifully articulated in the early chapters.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about gathering all young girls to perform the Pavai Nombu with a secret agenda of acquiring Krishna for a husband. Godai the cheerleader of the group of young girls undertake the task to bring about this group worship of Lord Krishna. The first five pasurams deal with the first meeting to undertake the fast.

The entire setting is Gokulam of Godai’s imagination with River Yamuna playing some lead parts in the narrative. This volume deals with the part where the plan is set up to meet at predawn hour and perform the fast on Lord Krishna. The setting is a group meeting near the Yamuna with elder’s consent and a secret agenda of unifying with Krishna.

Godai and girls meet near the River Yamuna and discuss the purpose of the meeting. They then set up a plan to worship Lord Krishna with the secret agenda of getting Him for themselves. The girls are thrilled about the agenda and are excited to start.

Next day, after the late meeting, some ten girls are found missing. So Godai with few other girls who have arrived for the meeting sets out to find them. In the course of finding those girls, Godai wakes up each girl giving her some really nice stories in the wake.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all the connected stories that are displayed like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. The stories brought back childhood memories of how the story used to be told. There was no fixed rule for the order in which the story needs to be told, a story could evolve from one look or one word uttered and completely sidetrack the narrator and listener. But then when it comes back to the strayed track to the main agenda, that is, to attain Lord Krishna; it has been beautifully done.

One thing that I would not say that I disliked it; but more out of concern for the readers who are not well-versed with Indian Mythological stories may need some context fixing especially when the conversation moves towards Alwars and their magical experiences.

My Opinion

I feel this volume was such a pleasure to read for two main reasons. One reason is that the small and big stories about Lord Vishnu and his many avatars were simply superb to read. The other reason being that I got to know so many unknown stories and the wonder of it is present like nectar consumed in Godai’s Vrindavan along with the Gopikas as another Pillaiy.

Image Source: Amazon India

Emotional Expression of Gita Govinda | An Inward Seeking

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Work Title: Gita Govinda

Poet: Poet Jayadeva (12th Century  Court Poet)

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Poet:

The Gita Govinda by the Bengali court poet Jayadeva of the 12th Century, which was done to be enacted as a dance drama, touches on all the emotional aspects of the lovers from separation to the final union. The creative work is divided into 12 Cantos with 8 couplet groups or Astapathi. The cantos speak of the various emotional factors of Krishna and Radha, in the cowherd incarnation. The lyrical ballad describes the parting and reunion of the two lead players of the dance drama.

Little Information About Gita Govinda

The poetry of this work uses the various eight emotions of lovers starting from separation to satisfaction of union with a clever device to be a cathartic spiritual experience. This is essentially a love song with dramatic components in them of an aspirant seeker and the goal of the search. The poet has extensively used the various dramatic and emotional pointers to bring out the flavor of various yearning that is found in the various characters involved in the lyrical song.

This piece is structured for Vasantha or Spring season celebration. Jayadeva introduces many elements which enrich the poetry to be very visual and emotional work. The fact that onlookers feel these elements as part of their emotional growth, is achieved with perfect setting and poetry. The greatest expression of love is found in this work in the form of a description of The Spring season’s scenic elements. The poet plays with the various faun and flora of the season with such poetic finesse that the poems move the minds of the reader.

Gita Govinda in Southern Vaishnavism Tradition

The poetry has traversed through the various parts of India and has been adapted with varying degree of change in the format.  In the South, the Vaishnavism of Tamilnadu has adopted this work to be presented in the musical format. The Radha Kalyanam format is set up to bring out the beauty of the poetry and musical scores have been already chosen and a tradition has been created. Of course, the performing group of Bhagavathars and their chorus can experiment as per their Mano Dharam with other ragas for the translation of original work in Tamil.

The work is treated as a spiritual expression of an aspirant seeker of God who eventually finds Him and becomes one with Him. The work is given religious value with the elements of the Bhakti movement. The gathering of the Bakthas’ experience of the presence of God’s grace being bestowed upon them is given more importance in this format.

The Story in a Nutshell

The 12 cantos play around the dramatic scene of separation of Radha and Krishna and eventually how both of them come together. The eight various aspects of the heroines’ emotions and Krishna’s mental states are described with exquisite finesse by the poet. The lyrical quality of the work is appealing to the reader who takes pleasure in the detailed expression of the various dramatic elements of the relationship between Krishna and Radha.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the fact that the poet uses the lyrical ballad mode to bring out the beauty of the relationship along with their various impressions. In this, the most important aspect would be the human emotions being explored with delicate modes of expression.

My dislike was the fact that I could not read the original work in the Sanskrit language. But the beauty of the poetry was not lost even in translation. I could still connect with the core work in translation.

My Opinion

Personally, I found the poem very erotic and it took me some time to actually fix the spiritual implication in it. Even though I travesed from the Southern version to original Sanskrit version. Bakthi movement has added spiritual value and south has added the ritualistic factor to the work. But no one can miss the lyrical beauty of the work.