Monday, May 31, 2010

Cooking Mythology!

Mixing turmeric in the vegetables before smelling the salt to add it to simmering potatoes and aubergine, I resisted the thoughts on Hindu mythology. There are two massive epics, The Ramayana and the Bhagwat Geeta. Stirring the lentils and counting the whistles as I poured a cup of rice into heavy-based pot, measuring two cups of water, I thought, how strange most children born in the narrative of bhagwat geeta are out of wedlock. Most women choosing powerful deities to father the children over their husbands! Did we have a civilization where marriage was not as 'sacred' as today and good genes determined whom the women in wedlock would mate with, to have gifted and healthy generations. Chopping onions, de seeding tomatoes and slicing green chili, I brood over the stern, dry values of Ramayana. Ram, the avatara of Visnu, an ideal king was sent to fourteen years of exile by his step mother so that her son would rule. She enters a 'kope bhavan' a palace where the queen would retire to when she was angry and discontented. She reminds the king of a promise he had made while on the battle field as she saved his life. The politics reigns and the virtuous Rama along with his devoted wife Sita move to the forests. A demon abducts Sita and carries her to Sri Lanka, after a fierce battle, Sita is overjoyed to unite with her husband. Rama stuns her by asking her to marry anyone as he could not take back a woman who had stayed under another man's roof! Sita is enraged. I mix milk with whole wheat flout and take off my three rings to knead the dough. Sita jumps into a fire as she thinks it is beneath her to accompany a man who has so publicly raised a doubt on her chastity. Fire cannot touch her and the fire god, the 'agni devta' appears praying to Rama to take back his wife as she was pure as pure can be. It's time to pack husband's lunch and I wash the steel containers. Sita, cools down and accompanies Rama to Ayodhya. Four containers, two I fill with rice, a little pickle on the side and one with 'dal' the lentil soup. Once back all is quiet till a spy reports to Rama of a washer man who refuses to take back his wife as she had been away under another man's roof. " I am no Rama" he says, "to take back a tarnished woman". Fourth container, I fill up with the potato and aubergine vegetables with a bit of tomato and onion that I saute in mustard oil. Sita, pregnant with twins is abandoned without an explanation in a forest where she is found by a sage and given shelter.

It is time to serve breakfast so I pour cold milk and two spoons of coffee and sugar to the blender and switch it on. Mythologies churn in my mind and cold milk swirls in the blender. The bhagwat geeta they say is 6000 years old and Ramayana older than that and what a contrast in value systems. After the radically logical approach of Krishna in Bhagwat Geeta as he encourages ' Arjun,' his disciple to wage a war against those who had cheated the five princes of their land and humiliated their common wife-draupadi. He uses all the tactics, negotiation, guerrilla warfare, threat and when nothing works sly methods to cheat the enemy just giving back the enemy taste of their own medicine.

Coming back to today when there is so much ruckus on just sketching portraits of a prophet, I do not know weather to laugh or feel frustrated. The very idea of not having idols is to identify the creator with the non manifested, a much higher state of awareness, whet could be more contradictory that create mayhem on an approach that was just to establish a stream of thought that self realization could be attained through either means, through devotion or though meditating on the abstract manifested creator. I pack the lunch and stuff the dough with onion-tomato-green chilli and roll it into thin parantha, a little butter in the flat pan and I press it to crisp both sides. Golden 'parantha' on white plate with cold coffee, husband says it tastes good!

Pic: The valley of flowers, clicked by son and husband.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wanderings and Night...

Red ants get angry as I spray water on wilting leaves, they bite my flesh. Since morning they have been carrying their eggs and larva, holding the creamy oval things in their pincher(yes, that's what they are called!)There is dust everywhere, you can taste it on the warmed furnace blast-like air. There is no breeze just a warmed stillness saturated with humidity. As labourers slog near fly overs and roads, their children play in scattered shade. Every time I pass a cluster of such children playing with sticks and sand piles, I pray to whoever watches over their safety.

Sometimes just looking, really looking at things makes one think. Was adjusting the ruby ring on my finger and suddenly it occurs to me that the gold and the ruby both have come from the depths of this Earth. Now, circling my finger, what a long journey and after my life, its journey goes on.

Was thinking about the string theory that speaks of parallel universes lying side-by-side like slices of a bread loaf. Well, actually just stepping out of the house, one feels it is already so, we do live on an irregular mass of molten lava covered thankfully with earth crust and rocks, but we live in different universes. It's just with us humans, if you place apes together, they will be just apes, but us, we will be this nationality, that skin colour, first world , third world and then all those strange equations of the ruled and the rulers. Yeah, there are dominant matriarchal or patriarchal structures in apes too, but those are not so rigid, mainly about territory and sex. The insecurity of a terror attack and deciding who are non believers or lesser mortals, that is a trait prized in humans. Dunno, maybe this is what evolution was meant to do to us. Looking closely, we are still in that maze of basic survival, tilted this way or that for convenience of some smart humans who decided how the society should be, thankfully these smart people were limited to some priests, religious preachers and dictators like Hitler. The damage they have sent rippling across the ages and generations validates the need to put them in same category. If people with wisdom were in charge of this earth, we could have survived here for millions of years. Is there a dearth of people who can take humanity as a whole. There is resistance against the very fact that human race is one species as power equations are involved, but naive as it may sound, at some point with dwindling resources and unmanaged populations, humanity will have to either face the problems or face savage wars like the first and second world war or just perish through natural devastation.

Had that same scary feeling of hanging in space as I woke up. As if there is no Earth, no place to belong to, probably that triggered these thoughts.


Wide open like a white lily
Floating in cosmos
This night, my night
Woven with warm breaths
Still, with spots of jasmine fragrance
Throbbing stars laughing on petty human concerns!

Flesh sprouting flesh in shrill labour rooms
here, the night is silent
Storms blend the night into dust
Far away, there are frozen polar nights
and nights turn sweet, sour, bitter, sad
We make the darkness so
Giving flavours...

Drunk on dreams and desires
saucy, smelling of hormones
Old, grumbling lonely night
as the hormones go...
Coming full circle to a still night
Boats of dream tethered in the darkness
Eager to flow...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thinking and Storm...

There are clouds above the dusty tree tops and birds are relieved, they chirp. I can hear a cukoo, a crow is building a nest in the massive silk-cotton tree behind my house, jet black and melodious cukoo is smart, she lays eggs in crow's nest, no hassle of bringing up chicks! The huge bee hive is gone and I think the bees were smarter as in the morning the four hives on another silk-cotton tree were larger. Human greed robbed their hives but they got shelter with the other bees.

Observing human nature these days, it is not difficult to destroy people, there are ways to control and keep one on the edge. Wonder why I never saw through these obvious ways earlier. Even now, I find it difficult to react to petty tricks. What does one think, can't I play the same games? It is easy to do that once you put your mind to it, but there are constructive things, meditation, sharing, interacting with children. I should not pay heed, what I am, no one can take away, at least not through projecting what I am not! Just that at this age it is difficult to see someone trying to control every moment, that can happen if I give in. Sometimes I do get tired. How much energy do these false hierarchies consume. All the time criticism as if this can somehow push you to a higher plane. A person's true worth is judged by the way he or she treats others when he or she is in a position of power. It is actually sad to be cunning, to knowingly lead others to wrong decisions, just to reflect in the glory of the false superiority. I have seen people say the opposite of what should be done and wait to see how their cunning plot unfolds. If you stop watching your back, they can be dangerous. So instead of doing something constructive, you have to keep a tab on what is cooking in this someone's mind that can harm you.

Problem is, when you know that all this is happening and yet you have to abide by social hierarchies,how do you contain the frustration about the importance given to people, who do not deserve it? How indeed do you respect such people? Maybe some people can, they are good at acting out things they do not feel in their hearts, but that must be such a strain. There is just one desire that I have before I leave this plane, to make some difference, not money, not recognition but my leaving should be accompanied by this beautiful Mother Earth becoming a better place for coming generations. Don't know how it will come about, maybe through sharing what God has so generously given me, maybe through some work or the field work that I aspire to do in Himalayan glaciers when kids are grown up. Just want to do this much before I leave and maybe that is why I feel, there are miles to go before I sleep...
Should always remember what Buddha said, we are not punished for our anger, we are punished by our anger. Even when so many things are so unfair...


Yellow dust swirls
A storm brews slowly
Gray clouds and a torrid heart
Raindrops comedown like warm kisses
Anger evaporates like ice in fire