It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

'Parva' by S.L.Bhyrappa

I still cannot recollect accurately what incidents had aroused my curiosity as I typed the words S.L.Bhyrappa in the google search months ago. It has been the most rewarding google search I have made since ages. A week after I landed in Bangalore I was lost in the pages of this magnanimous epic 'Parva' by S.L.Bhyappa.

Many of us have read the Mahabharata time and again. For some of us it's a holy book, for others it's a political guide and yet others its a divine revelation. But S.L.Bhyrappa has given a new insight and meaning to this great work of Maharishi Vyasa. My respect for the book and its author has risen far beyond words after going through the pages.

The book starts off unlike the original, from the events revolving around the war between the pandavas and kauravas. Throughout the book, the characters (not the heroes/demigods/demons) are depicted as ordinary humans but with extraordinary traits. The earlier chapters are monologues of Kunti, Draupadi, Bhima, Arjuna... and in the background of their monologues and conversations the tale unfolds itself like the petals of a flower. ದೇವಲೋಕ is a village in himalayas and not some elusive world in another corner of the universe. The inhabitants of this ದೇವಲೋಕ have a custom wherein a family of brothers wed a single woman. S.L.Bhyrappa says that they practice this custom even to this day. Draupadi's marriage to the five pandavas is derived from this custom. The practice of ನಿಯೋಗ has been touched delicately but on more than one occasion.

As a reader I too had pondered upon the questions which the author has forced into the minds of the characters...  Various human emotions like hatred, jealousy, greed, pride, lust have been beautifully crafted in this master piece. Many interesting parts have lingered in my mind after completing the book. The conversation between ಕರ್ಣ ಕುಂತಿ is worth mentioning. How ಕರ್ಣ is shaken by the news that he is ಕುಂತಿs son! His mind plays with a train of thoughts following this news... that he is actually the eldest of the 'pandavas' and is of royal blood. The bitter memories come back to him of his childhood and education where many a times he was mocked at and was denied by great teachers like ದ್ರೋಣ who taught only ಕ್ಷತ್ರಿಯಸ್.

Another character which made an immense impression in my mind was that of draupadi, beautifully painted with grace and dignity. She is the key to the unity of pandavas. The integrity between the brothers is maintained by Draupadi who has been instructed by Kunti that she should treat all of them equally. The various hardships she faces throughout leaves the reader emotional. Her patience and faith carries her across the hardous journey. By the end, she has more than a few bruises of the war. Losing her children shatters her heart. And the description of the farewell to her children is heart touching wherein only she sits by the dead bodies of her beloved children mourning their deaths. The fathers stand nearby only staring unemotionally.

The climax of Parva brought memories of Gabriel Garcia Marcquez's One hundred years in solitude. The rains pouring and drenching the victorious Pandavas, Arjuna losing his powerful bow in the rain. Krishna waiting and watching the rising floods... Kunti and Draupadi mourning the death of the Abhimanyu's still born baby. The end of a kingdom.... The success of Kurukshetra war lost and all that remains is Kunti's hope that Draupadi would somehow restore a successor to the throne. 

      

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The sum of all failures...


Carry On Tuesday # 162

Thanks to all of you who took up the challenge last week. I wondered what the response would be to  such a lengthy prompt but I needn't have worried! So, let's see what you make of this!


This week I've used as our prompt the title and ending of a poem by David Whalen
I listen to the silence .... as you do also




The stone bench suddenly seemed to get a life of its own. It began to poke my body and I felt as though i was sitting at an acupuncture session. I realized that the feeling is mutual... The stone bench seemed to scream at bearing the weight of this totally useless body. I turned my vision upwards towards the sky and closed my eyes. Hoping against hope that when I open my eyes again I would somehow be transformed to a different world at a different time. Much before... when I was young. When there was joy in my heart and love in my life.

I opened my eyes with a smile and looked at the sky for a sign... Dark clouds seemed to gather. As if an army was getting organized to fight me. Why this war? I have already been defeated a thousand times. Now there is no strength in my legs to run, no power in my arms to lift weapons and no will in my once brave heart to conquer the world. I am reduced to a tramp by life. At every step I have been reminded by nature of my mortal soul, helpless body and foolish mind. How you have mocked at me constantly throughout life! But I did succeed in one thing... You have taught me valuable lessons. I experienced humility in my defeats, I understood that an immortal soul is rocking our cradles and I realized that you dissolved my sins in acts of repentance.  

Now I may be homeless and one without a family. I may carry along with me a begging bowl for alms. But I am at the peak of the mountain and everyone reaches here alone...

   

Friday, May 25, 2012

A fascinating drifter...


This week's words:

Flesh; noun: The soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of an animal or a human; the pulpy substance of a fruit or vegetable, esp. the part that is eaten; the skin or surface of the human body with reference to its color, appearance, or sensual properties; verb: Put weight on; add more details to something that exists only in a draft or outline form.

Novice; noun: A person new to or inexperienced in a field or situation; a person who has entered a religious order and is under probation, before taking vows; an animal, especially a racehorse, that has not yet won a major prize or reached a level of performance to qualify for important events.

Sear; verb: Burn or scorch the surface of (something) with a sudden, intense heat; (of pain) be experienced as a sudden, burning sensation; brown (food) quickly at a high temperature so that it will retain its juices in subsequent cooking.

Traffic on that Monday morning seemed unbelievably heavy with packed school vans and cars honking. The mini-rickshaw drivers were the happiest of the lot. Passengers began to mount their rickshaws like hordes of rats mesmerized by the pied piper. Novice drivers were being harassed by for their driving skills by truck drivers and car drivers alike. A soft breeze flew in the opposite direction carrying with it the sweetness of summer dawn. I shifted my gaze since there was nothing interesting about the traffic. My eyes caught a tall lean figure squatting on the road, dressed in a somewhat odd manner. At that far a distance I could only make out her bright canvas like dress. I began to count the number of colors in her dress, the background was mainly orange. As the car moved closer towards her, the details began to become clear. Green leaves, red large flowers, pink little flowers and brown creepers. Her salwar seemed more like a artist's canvas. She wore a waist band, it seemed hand made royal blue and bright. Above that she wore a shirt, a collared one, worn out and seemed like a splatter of white on a red canvas. The artist must been having a bad day when he did this one! My morning was getting better by the minute... But by the time I could catch a glimpse of the lady's face who had fascinated me, the car sped away to catch up with the rest of the world.

I hoped to watch out for her on my way back home. The day went along smoothly and the tramp almost disappeared from my mind among the mundane activities of life. Strange it seemed, when I think of it now. How did those colors disappear into a sea of nothingness! And how ordinary a thing it had seemed back then that I forgot to watch out for her on my way back.

The next day from far off I could make out her striking figure and was hoping for a better view. Miraculously the car stopped right in front of her and I almost stared shamelessly. For the first time her towering height alarmed me and so did her disoriented expressions. The flesh of her body was in the right proportions, she wasn't too plump nor too lean.  It didn't seem to her that she lived on the streets. She held a cup of chai and looked around as if she owned the whole place. I was rather confused by her actions. I couldn't take my eyes off her and decided to make her the chief subject of my study for a while. The car raced off again but today she lingered a while in my thoughts. What surprised me was her pride? She wasn't running a marathon race like the rest of us. Instead she was enjoying her relaxed walk of life. There's nothing philosophical about it. I wouldn't call her a saint, but she was definitely human. I made it a habit to watch her everytime I passed that way. That was almost everyday. My 'subject' I noticed was homeless but not a beggar. She lived in a world of her own. She sometimes cooked by the fire she made by the side of the road. I have seen her sear food and the aroma filling up the place. When I began my inquiries about her, nearby neighbors and shopkeepers, told me the simple story of her life. She has been living near this highway since thirty years. She doesn't trouble anyone. She does not create a menace. So the locals began to provide her with lunch and dinner. They even believed that she proved a lucky charm to the whole locality. Shopkeepers would persuade her to step into their shops. But she seemed agitated at the strange intrusion. She constantly talked to herself, in what seemed like a foreign language. She very rarely spoke in the local language.
Watching her daily became a favorite passtime to me. She seemed to roam like a queen in her garden. A calmness resided within her. But I always wondered what drove her to live on the streets. Was she deceived in life by family? Was she a failed artist? Her personality always suggested to me that circus would have been an interesting profession. Her clothes also seemed to suggest the same. At times I also wondered if she was a warrior princess. Must have got weary with all the violence and war and decided to spend the rest of life peacefully.
The scorching sun in summer, blossoming flowers of spring and withering trees of winter all seemed to be her companions. Seasons changed, positions of the ruling planets changed, fates of people changed. My life changed. From being a student, then a wife and later a mother. The tramp always remained at the back of my mind. She was a great teacher of life. Someday I would definitely walk up to her and talk to her...
But this morning, I am happy enough to watch her through my glass.  



Friday, March 30, 2012

The universal form....

This week's words:

Fragrant; adjective: Having a pleasant or sweet smell.

Jostle; verb: Push, elbow, or bump against (someone) roughly, typically in a crowd; struggle or compete forcefully for.

Remnant; noun: A small remaining quantity of something; a surviving trace; adjective: remaining. 

The vastness around me startled me. The only word ringing in my head was 'numerous'. My whole body shook unable with withstand the grandeur of nature unfolding itself. It first began as a whisper in my ear and then invaded all my senses. My eyes were feasting on the great revelation. A thousand heads surrounded me.The whole room was overfilling, there was no space left. He had occupied each inch of the room. From the thousand heads arose many hands holding various weapons of destruction. Heads, mostly were human with expressions ranging from the calm and devoted Hanuman to the deadly Rudras. Eyes wide opened and bloody. Some had bird like faces and animal like faces too. The costumes also similarly varied with the heads. But the most beautiful aspect was a divine fragrance, more intoxicating than jasmine.  
 
The fear in me slowly began to dissolve into the vastness of the image before me. It seemed to me that I had escaped into a different universe, an abode of the Gods. Where the impossible was possible, the veil of ignorance was lifted and a deep understanding began to set it in. I seemed like a water drop on my journey to the ocean. The images before me floated in this form for what seemed ages. Fear was replaced by wonder and then wonder by knowledge and then knowledge by nothingness. Ultimately the water drop became a part of the vast ocean. I no longer felt like a remnant... I ceased to exist.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sound of night...

Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.
Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As  always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.
But I invite everyone to check back often to read and  comment on other contributions. This is, after all, a community for writers who clamor for feedback.
This week's words: 
Flag; noun: A piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution or as a decoration during public festivities; verb: Mark (an item) for attention or treatment in a specified way; signal to a vehicle or driver to stop, especially by waving one’s arm.

Might; modalverb: In reported speech, expressing possibility or permission; expressing a possibility based on a condition not fulfilled; used in questions and requests; used to express possibility or make a suggestion.

Passive; adjective: Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.
At last everything fell silent. The drums, flute and nadaswara stopped playing and disappeared into the sound of night. But her mind recalled each and every moment of that wonderful night. It did not remain silent not for a minute. She blushed, giggled as she lost herself into a world of fantasies. 'I am not going to sleep today' she told herself. The clock banged twelve O clock, two more hours to the most exciting event of her life...

When she met him in that crowded street three years back, did she know that he was the one? She pondered over the question again and again. The answer was she was unaware that she knew He was the one. Planning wasn't her cup of tea. Everything seemed so impulsive and life was full of surprises. So full of surprises, that she never thought there would be hurdles in her path. Ever. Lady luck was always beside her.  She passively went through life's challenges, knowing that she would emerge 'happy'.

He rolled her over and looked straight into her eyes. She was still catching her breath and stared right back into those deer like eyes. He blew off a hair strand and said 'I love you' he said and in return she closed her eyes and replied 'I know'. I never thought I might say 'I know'. What kind of a reaction was that...

She checked the time it was one A.M. She wondered now, how special yet simple was that moment. She had looked forward for those words, and it had seemed like an eternity. And  then, she had stopped hoping those words would even be uttered. Yet after giving so much, somewhere deep she wondered, she waited!

Thirty minutes left...her eyes told her it was time to shut them. The flashback scenes slowly mingled with a dream she was having. Her breathing became slower and she slipped into sleep at last. In thirty minutes, she was getting married. But she told herself, let him wait now!!!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The hero...

This week's words: 

Hollow; adjective: Having a hole or empty space inside; (of a thing) having a depression in its surface; concave; (of a sound) echoing, as though made in or on an empty container; without significance; noun: A hole or depression in something, or small valley; verb: Form by making a hole.

Misery; noun: A state of feeling great distress or discomfort of mind or body; a cause or source of great distress or discomfort.

Shallow; adjective: Of little depth; situated at no great depth; varying only slightly from a specified or understood line or direction, esp. the horizontal; not exhibiting, requiring, or capable of serious thought; (of breathing) taking in little air; verb: (Of the sea, a lake, or a river) become less deep over time or in a particular place.  



I wore my goggles, my feet were killing me and I cursed those high heeled shoes. Again I stood in front of the studio. My ears were all ON, it was exciting to be that close to the movie shooting spot. I definitely am a movie buff... My mind rehearsed carefully what I am going to tell Mr.Hero who was shooting inside. What would he be wearing... How has he done his hair today? Will I ever see him...My heart was beating at the rate of 100 beats per minute. I could feel this moment was so special...
A security guard reappeared and threatened a gang of fans, but we were so determined to see our hero that it hardly had an effect. I repositioned myself a few feet away but my eyes were stuck to the exit. I didnt wanna miss a single thing. To feel better, I began singing songs of our movie hero. Slowly my friends joined and one of them also brought out a guitar. We were enjoying the singing. Others also crowded around us and encouraged our singing. It began to feel like a different world. I closed my eyes now, the sun disappeared and so did the heat... Everything around seemed shallow. I was in a garden, full of roses...red ones. The fragrance filled up the air and like a Greek God He walked among them...
My heart beat grew faster. I stopped singing and got up. I knew the moment was drawing close... I looked  at that door, which seemed my only hope. End to all misery!!! At that very moment, He was there. In flesh and blood...this was no imagination. Time stopped for an eternity. I was aware of only His existence...not even mine. As he pushed away the curtains to make his way out, he looked straight ahead... at me. And when our eyes met, though for only fraction of a second I was swept away. I flew in a thousand skies and with a million wings... Something within me ceased to exist! And then again it all felt like a new existence...

He walked back straight to his caravan. My friends ran to him but my feet were rooted. I stood still... And deep within my heart I knew I will never feel hollow again. Atleast to me, this is love!!!     

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ekalavya....

the summer flower has run to seed

Use all or some of the words in your poem or story then leave your URL with Mister Linky. A comment would be nice too.





He picked up the book once again and turned to the first page. Reading it for the 1000th time still made it impossible to believe. He looked through the dusty windows into the dark night and was wondering at the state of decay of his mansion. His eyes caught a spider spinning a cobweb at one corner, it was working it's way skillfully and almost beautifully. The silver threads glistened with the light from the oily lamp. At another time he would have shouted at the house maids and servants for their negligence but today he resolved to maintain peace with himself. 'He was just like this...' retired professor Dayal Sharma told himself and sighed. Swinging his head back, he let his mind escape into the realms of the past...

One timid face among the whole class stood out... I noticed those sparkling eyes, thirst for knowledge and the will to work hard. They belonged to Vishnu. With a height like five feet nine inches tall, it was impossible to ignore him completely. But his timid nature and his innocence sometimes was annoying. These attributes made him look foolish at times. The other students seemed more promising to me, they were smart, eager and fearless. I treated my students not like a bunch of idiots but as clean slates... I wrote in those slates everything I knew and wanted them to know all secrets of pathology. Somewhere deep in my mind I wished some of my students would carry the torch of knowledge far away, lighting thousands of candles and my name would thus become eternal. Thus I wasn't completely selfless in my ways...


A mid summer afternoon I was panting after a flight of stairs. The heat seemed intolerable. I stopped at the end of stairs to catch my breath... A small group of students walked along the corridor, they all seemed so lively... full of laughter and jovial. It was nice to be young, I reminded myself and smiled at the group and made my way along the corridor to my room. Vishnu was walking along the wall, before our paths even crossed he fled as if I was a wild animal. I sighed and told myself 'God, show him the right path'. Somehow, even to this day when I think about the corridor incident I find myself sympathizing Vishnu. In his eyes I saw the


Years passed by. My students did make me proud. They were now professors and teaching many students. I was content that my torch of light still burned spreading light. Everywhere I went I heard praises about my students, I could see myself holding the torch light high in the air. I did not hide my pride but flaunted my achievements, at any given opportunity.

A soft breeze entered the decrepit room, the freshness of the evening air transported Dayal Sharma back to the present. A gush of air followed and extinguished the oil lamps. Darkness of night seemed to invade the mansion wildly. He stirred in his easy chair getting used to the darkness. The cold air refreshed his senses and the darkness seemed like an excellent background to his journey into the past... So he simply let it be, continuing his journey.


As time passed clearly the standards of education changed. Students relied more on 'short notes' and 'guides' rather than classroom lectures. Money became the most important thing, everything else took a second seat. Sincere and hardworking students became a rarity... those rare ones too were discouraged and transformed very soon. everything began to fade around my world. My torch of light seemed to be burning in an empty room, soon to be extinguished. I was beginning to lose hope that anything would change this situation. 

One fine day I received a parcel. My maid brought it to me with the evening tea. I opened the parcel and was surprised to find a textbook. Who would send me one, may be one of the publishers. The author's name in clear bold letters 'Dr.Vishnu Sharma'. I secretly hoped it's the Vishnu I knew...on the first page was the dedication. 


This book is dedicated to the lotus feet of my guru
Dr.Dayal Sharma

The screeching noise of the easy chair was the only sound to be heard in the whole mansion. That sound meant a lot to Dr.Dayal Sharma, it was the proof of life in that old mansion. In the darkness he reached for the book and clutched it close to his heart. And cried aloud 'Ekalavya....' The echoes filled the whole mansion.