A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.


This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The (In)famous Mumbai Spirit

The idea of writing this is not to provoke, but to spark a debate. Awaken what is dormant and recognise the real virtue.

All of us Mumbaikars feel a pat in the back when we hear or read phrases like – ‘the indomitable spirit of Mumbai’, ‘Mumbai bounces back’, ‘Mumbai’s spirit cannot be cowed down by terrorism’…and so on. Each more flowery than the other, each richer than the other in terms of play of words.

Is this a spirit of bouncing back, or is it stemming from a sense of stoicism? Stoicism not in the sense – Who cares, but more of – What can I do? There lies the subtle difference.

The day after the deluge, for majority of Mumbaikars will be a normal day, to talk the subject, read in details what one failed to catch on TV, and feel sad for those who were stranded, drenched, took shelter in churches and gurudwaras and those who never reached home for the night. But somewhere in a corner of the heart we will feel good that we are back on our feet, back to work the very moment the public transport was available, over the stinking and dirty roads; send children to school to make them look like us, call relatives and tell them that we are safe and have even resumed work, and behave as if nothing had happened, and yesterday was just a bad dream. This is not the indomitable spirit of Mumbaikar, but a concrete evidence of stoicism. It’s our hardened sense of empathy, or the lack of it.

‘What can I do when the whole government machinery couldn’t do anything?’, ‘What can I do when I have so many other responsibilities?’, ‘What can I do when nobody is doing anything?’, ‘What can I do all by myself?’ There is a list of What-can-I-do questions, all leading us to do nothing, except watch the graphic apathy of the system, its meticulous breaking down on TV, read all about them on our way to work and get taken in by the ubiquitous feeling of the great ‘spirit of Mumbai’.

To all the What-can-I-do questions, I have only one answer – ask Why? Protest till the powers-to-be are compelled to give answers. Protest does not mean take to streets and resort to acts of vandalism and communalism. Protest can be in any form that the civilised society permits us. If someone dumps garbage in front of our house, don’t we protest? Why can’t we do now? Garbage is now being dumped in the society, shouldn’t we protest?

Mumbaikars need to realise that it is this infamous spirit of Mumbai which is going against us. As individuals we are being taken for granted. The powers-to-be are aware that as citizens we are only prone to raise our voices within the four walls of our homes and workplaces. They are aware that they can get away with inefficiency, irresponsibility and corruption. Haven’t we pardoned them for the 2005 deluge, the annual drama of potholes, the lack of preparation every monsoons, the regular photo-op-charade of de-silting, and so on?

These are not the times to bear in silence or turn a blind eye. It’s time to speak up. Stop the wheels. Raise a voice. As the famous John Galt of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ did, ‘stop the motor of the world’ and let the inefficient and ineffective make way for the efficient.

Ask questions. Who is responsible for such inefficiency? When is the Government going to rise about its compulsion of coalition-politics? When will heads roll for efficient heads and not replace with another set of inefficient morons? Will the culprits be arrested, and if so, how soon can they be booked, tried and punished? Will we have to wait for another deluge to remind us of the last one? Will it take about 12 years to fix blames? Will this go down in history as another piece of statistics?

As a sincere law-abiding citizen of Mumbai I protest and I ask these questions. Do not hide behind the poetic excellence of the politicians and media alike. Do not get taken in by the blame-game about to begin. My sincere request to all – do not resist from asking questions, just because you might not get answers. Ask nonetheless.

I end with my favourite quote from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand in the iconic speech, ‘This is John Galt speaking’ –

“To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil.

If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it.

The world will change when you are ready to pronounce the oath….”

I decide to stop this display of Mumbaikar’s spirit. Stop the motor of the world! This is my way of protesting - however insignificant it seems to anybody.




Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Does a society learn from its past?

Does a society learn from its past? Past mistakes to be precise? Has our nation learnt from the gut-wrenching incident of a Nirbhaya on a fateful night of December 2012? Have rapes and murders of women stopped? Have the changes in law brought any respite to a woman? Is she more secure today?

At the cost of repetition, does a society learn from its mistakes? No, it seldom does.

All of us are well aware of the episode of Draupadi’s vastraharan or disrobing after she was lost in the dice game, by her husband, Yudhishtir. Many say that it was this that led to Kurukshetra, while some say, it was Draupadi’s laughter at Duryodhana at Indraprastha. Irrespective of it, the society blames Draupadi for the war. But going back the episode of the disrobing; an effort is made to disrobe Draupadi and her husband/s say nothing. They remain mute observers, as they were supposed to be following the dharma of a slave! Allowing ones wife to be stripped in public and not stand by her, could never be part of any dharma, was forgotten by none other than Dharma-raj himself.

One would think that such an experience would be enough to last a lifetime for a person like Yudhishtir, right? Wrong!

Let me relate another incident that happens after sometime and Yudhishtir behaves in the same way, as he did earlier and thus my concern – does society ever learn?

After the Pandavs lost everything in the dice game, in spite of Draupadi winning everything back with her arguments and invoking humanity, in the court of Hastinapur, the Pandavs are sent to exile for twelve years and an additional year incognito, i.e. in disguise. If they were found out in the thirteenth year, then they would have to go for another thirteen years in exile.

During the thirteenth year, the Pandavs and Draupadi decided to take refuge at the court of Virata, all in disguise. Yudhistir becomes the advisor to the King and Draupadi becomes one of maids of the Queen Sudeshna of Virata. However, Draupadi’s beauty attracts the evil gaze of the Queen’s bother Keechaka, who is also the powerful army chief. Draupadi tries to stall his advances, but is unable to do much when the Queen herself insists that she give in to her advances. Queen Sudeshna once forced Draupadi to take wine for Keechaka in his chambers. Once there, Keechaka tries to molest her and Draupadi to avoid his advances runs away from his chambers and lands up in the court seeking protection from the king and her husband, Yudhishtir, who was present in the court.

Keechaka follows her to the court, and seizing her by her hair throws her down on the earth, kicked her in the very presence of the King, and of course her husband Yudhishtir. Draupadi urges the King to intervene and save her from the mighty Keechaka who has been casting evil eye on her, a married woman, all this while hoping Yudhishtir would intervene. While the King didn’t know how to react, as Keechaka was his brother-in-law and a general, the courtiers applauded Draupadi’s stance of seeking justice in an open court against the wrong-doings of Keechaka, which were well known. To Draupadi’s horror, Yudhishtir speaks and scolds her for disturbing the proceedings of the court and bringing such complaints in front of everybody. He further tells her not to put up an act and go back to the inner chambers of the Queen and not come back with such lamentations to the court, especially when a dice game is on!
Draupadi in Virata's palace, by Raja Ravi Varma

While many say, that Yudhishtir said this as he did not want to risk being recognized in the crucial thirteenth year, the fact remains, that once again Draupadi was insulted and once again her husband did not come to her help. I repeat, does the society learn from its past mistakes? While Yudhishtir could have managed to save Draupadi with some of his advise and that too in a court which was averse to Keechaka, Yudhistir decided to reprimand Draupadi for ‘wasting the time of the court’.

Misplaced sense of duty or selfish agenda, or both?

On this Women’s day, I urge people to stand up for women, irrespective of one’s political and ideological affiliations. A woman’s dignity is of prime significance and no crime on her part can justify, lynching, molestation and public humiliation and in modern times, social media trolling. The society has no right to breach codes of morality both written and unwritten. This society has enough Keechaka’s and Sudeshna’s, but it is the responsibility of every citizen to stand by a woman, irrespective of her ‘crime’. It’s time to pull down curtains on the age-old lip-service that a woman is a mother and goddess and she needs to be worshipped. A woman doesn’t need to be worshipped; she needs to be respected for who she is – an individual. While today’s woman can take care of herself, if a man stands by her, it would only act as a fillip.

And finally, men, don’t be Yudhishtirs, be a Bhima. Just to conclude the story, Draupadi goes to Bhima and relates everything. Next night Bhima kills Keechaka. Bhima stands by his wife.

If a woman is safe, everyday will be a woman’s day; if she is not, what's the big deal in celebrating it even for one day?





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love

It’s that time of the year, when love is in the air, as goes the clich├ę. Today all will be talking of love, love and more love. For the last five years or so, I have been telling love stories in my Blog and thought I would do the same this year, but then I wanted to avoid clich├ęs this year, so decided against it. No love stories this year, but let’s talk of love, since love is in the…. We will skip that, I guess.


So what is love?

With decades behind me, I make my little effort to understand this unavoidable four letter emotion.

Is it the way he looks at her? Or is it in a lovers touch? Or is it her presence? Or is it just her being around? Or is it in his sweet words? Or is it the small things he does for his lover?

Is it easy to find love or does it take a life time to find it?

Where art thou, my love?
Looked for thee everywhere,
But could find thee not
Where art thou, my love?

Looked for thee in the East
Where the sun rose,
Looked for thee in the West
Where the sun set,
But could find thee not.
Where art thou, my love?

Looked for thee in a moonlit night
Looked for thee in the Madhuvana
Looked for thee under the kadamba tree
 But could find thee not
Where art thou, my love?

Looked for thee at the seashore
Looked for thee in the waves of the sea,
Sought you in the aroma of the breeze
Sought you in the silence of the night.
But could find thee not
Where art thou, my love?

Oh questions and questions galore! How does one explain love, the single most driving force for mankind and as the cynic would say, for the gift industry! But no commerce today, please! I am no Archies and I am no manufacturer of silk hearts of varying sizes to be stuck on gifts and to be discarded tomorrow morning.

I am the heart that beats for her and the heart which aches for her.
I am the heart which throbs with passion and which displays emotion.
I am the heart which often goes fickle and silly, all for her
I am the heart which loses its rationality when she looks at me
I am the heart which melts at her smile and hardens at her indifference
I am the heart which pines in her absence and throws tantrums when she is back
I am the heart which displays ego but submits at the drop of her eyelid

So do these emotions matter today? Are these worth anything in the world of ostentatious displays of love in social media? Do these matter in a I-love-you-I-aint-sure-you-are-the-one times of love? Or is it that love is for keeps for some while the same is old fashioned for some?

I have been on earth for quite some time now (and I hope god is not reading this!), but when it comes to define love, I guess I have miles to go…..but can safely say, felt it! It’s a joy, it’s a pain, its laughs and its tears. If it ain’t all this, then I guess it’s not love….at least not for me.

I guess only a lover can understand what love is when he says…

Kiss the cup, my love
Let this be my elixir
For lovers need no nectar of heavens;
The touch of your rosy lips
          is all I seek
After this, even if the cup
          hath an adders juice
I would gulp it down with glee
And embrace the messenger of Yama.

Here's wishing you ....


(The italicized pieces are from my forthcoming novel)

Love stories from the previous Valentine Days –



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Satyavati


Launching my second book, "Satyavati" the much forgotten and often sidelined woman from the epic Mahabharata who was responsible for changing the course of destiny of many a character in the epic!



Check it out on the Readify app