Help! The world’s going all cuckoo on me!

I will never understand this world. Taking the stairs up to my grandma’s place recently, I noticed that, at every bend on every stairwell was plastered a ceramic tile with a portrait of a Hindu god or goddess. This struck me as rather odd…a painted wall with just one tile on it? Why would people bother with something like that?

Turns out my granny knew why. Seems that paan-chewing Indians will spit in every corner they can find. And the only way to prevent the vista from going all red on you is to put the fear of God into those paan lovers.

Speaking of more oddball people, I think what the Aussies are doing Down Under looks pretty sad from Up Here. Here’s a bunch of people actually paying them for the privilege of filling the coffers at their universities – even as they eschew a whole world of opportunities in their native land (as well as in better-known campuses across the US and Europe). But is the native heart at peace? No! They want not just their money, but also their blood.

Now I agree that things are not as simple as that. But is it really so hard for people to just get along with each other? I can understand a certain amount of resentment in places where people just barge in and take hold of what rightfully belongs to the native. But in this situation, it’s the Australian government’s sustained ad campaigns in India, their depiction of their country as the next education and leisure destination, that’s caused the recent influx of Indians there.

Perhaps, before they come back to woo us again, they need to woo their own people with an ‘Incredible Indians in Amazing Australia’ ad campaign first.

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Radha-Krishna: The greatest, unconsummated, love story ever

Did you know that, as per Indian mythology, Radha & Krishna never got married? Apparently, there are some intricate explanations for their unfulfilled – yet eternal – love. Non-religious that I am, I had never paid much attention to all those mythological stories that you tend to absorb no matter where you live, what you do and who you interact with, in India. If anything, these flotsam stories about divine love, about Krishna’s innumerable wives and his flirting around with all those gopis only pissed me off. Here was a guy we called God, I’d argue, and even he couldn’t stay faithful to one wife, one woman! And then we crib about the patriarchal society we live in!

After all, if you can block out the image of Ram asking his wash-his-feet-and-drink-the-water pativrata wife to take the Fidelity Fire Test, or of honourable Arjun wandering off and taking every beautiful woman he met as one of his wives, or of Krishna getting married to not one, two or three but to 16,000 women and fathering 16,000 children (!), well then I have very little to say to you. Except that you and I have nothing in common.

A few days ago, however, I attended a dear friend’s lavish wedding. The bride’s party had engaged a group of folk singers to keep the guests entertained as, onstage, the various rituals and pheras were being conducted. Though almost all the songs were in Gujarati with the vocals almost drowned out by the chanting of the priests or the chatter of the wedding guests, yet whatever little I heard of the music gave me goosebumps. Here and there I caught phrases about the various promises Radha makes to meet Krishna on the banks of the river, about how Krishna woos her with the music of his flute or about how nature rejoices at the union of these two divine souls, here on earth. Later, a Gujarati friend helpfully pointed out: “The music was so touching. All the vows, all the rituals of the wedding were being mirrored and enhanced by it. Each of the songs depicted the many moods of the Radha-Krishna pair – the greatest love story ever!”

After the wedding, I more or less forgot about the whole thing. Until recently when I happened to watch one episode of a TV series about Krishna. The characters were discussing how Radha and Krishna had been cursed by some saint (or someone of that sort) and would never be able to meet – post their childhood – for the duration of their earthly avatar. And it was a long duration – Krishna is believed to have lived to be approximately 125 years old!

5 minutes of googling told me this: In Indian tradition, Radha and Krishna are considered the most divine, the most passionate, of lovers. Yet they spent their lives never being able to consummate their love whether by sight or by touch. Apparently, at one point, Radha even asks Krishna to marry her (presumably before they were separated at around age 10). After making the request, when she turns around to face her lover, she finds another Radha standing in his place. And Krishna tells her: “Can you marry yourself? I am you, and you are me. We are one – how can anyone unite one entity?”

I admit I found this thought incredibly moving, deeply romantic. In a world where everything is so transient, where people divorce for reasons as trivial as you can imagine, can you also imagine a love so strong, so unshakeable, that 115 years of separation could do nothing to change that feeling?

Of course I do not believe that the people we worship as gods were anything more than the well-known, good or popular people of those times. By that token, I do not believe that Krishna and Radha were a god & goddess who came down to earth by divine plan. And if there is any truth to the stories, then whatever did happen, happened to normal earthly beings like you and me. Putting it in this perspective, I feel, only adds to the amazing dimensions of the Radha-Krishna love story (if it can be called that). Two average human beings, separated almost all their lives, yet carrying a torch for each other all through those long years. Now where do you find something of that quality anymore? 🙂

Old school anthem, new Mandira Bedi haircut (I wish!)

Whoa! Was this a windblaster or what?! Someone had left the window wide open and, as I took my customary seat on the bus, I felt my neatly-put-together hair (this is rare!) being pulled and pummeled from 20 directions at once. I reached out to shut the window but the fresh morning air felt too good to resist, though the crazy hairdo at the end of the ride did make me wish I had gone in for a verryyy short haircut over the summer.

Actually why not? I should get myself super-short super-sexy hair – a la Mandira Bedi. Speaking of which, doesn’t she carry off that cropped mane rather well? The problem is, I don’t know whether it will look that great on me. Especially since I intend to be wearing quite a few Indian ethnic clothes in the near future (family wedding coming up). Also, it’s sure to make me look taller than I already am – not something I need in my life at this moment. So I guess the sexy new look will just have to wait. *Sigh*

This morning I sang my old school anthem. I did it in my head and was ecstatic to realize that, in spite of it being a few months over a decade since I left school, I can still sing the whole long complicated version of the song! I do have some long-term memory left. Yay! And after that, I also sang ‘It must have been love’ by Roxette. Just to celebrate. Yes, I do know it’s a sad song but I like it. Especially since it sounds so damn good when I sing it in my head! 😉

So this marked the beginning of Tuesday for me. And just as I was hoping the day would go off equally as well as it had begun, someone came along to ruin my happy mood. T’was too good to last, what? 😦