To all my dear friends and family, Wish you a Happy Ugādi, Gudi Padava, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba(1).
These festivals mark the beginning of the Lunar new year for many communities in different parts of India and while each festival has its own ritual, all of them involve cleaning, family, prayers, food and merry-making. (Don't all festivals?) In true Indian spirit, I also want to partake in all of them and absorb all the positive energy and hopefully, share some too!
Without being tone-deaf, I recognize that this time its going to be different with a #21DayLockdown and will not for the most part include all the usual fun but there is a silver lining. I'm now getting a world-class schooling about what is essential and I suspect you are too. Illusions, if any, are getting knocked down like a domino rally. Yes, having some savings for a rainy day is a good thing. No, that new feline-branded lifestyle shoe is not. Yes, having an ability to accept everything life has to offer in good measure is essential. No, most impulsive and fear based thinking is not. You get the drift.
On that last point, I'm reminded of an incident that happened about eight years ago. I walked into office like every other day and was greeted with a dīpa (lamp) and a brass plate filled with jaggery, kalkandam (lump sugar), turmeric, kunkuma and other assortments. My colleague who was at the desk wished me a Happy Ugadi and asked me to have a pinch of the prasadam. Gladly, my sweet tooth and I accepted a generous pinch, only to be hit with a mix of flavours all at once. I wasn't expecting powdered neem leaves and what followed was my face progressing through all the navarasas in quick succession. We laughed heartily and then I learnt that on Ugadi, the prasadam (symobolically) includes sweet, sour, salt, bitter, spicy and tangy flavours. Quite literally, I learnt in a moment that life will not just consist of sweet experiences, but a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter episodes.
What a lesson and what a beautiful way to learn! No textbooks, sermons or cryptic language. See, there is a silver lining!
1) #Ugadi is celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; #GudiPadwa in Goa and Maharashtra; #Navreh in Kashmir. #SajibuCheiraoba in Manipur. (I had to research the last two. Pardon my ignorance.)
2) Ugadi symbolism by Vasudha Narayan: Just as the different substances are bound together, one is reminded that no event or episode is wholly good or bad. Even in the midst of bitter experiences, there are sweet moments. One is also reminded that the experience of taste is transitory and ephemeral; so too, is life, and one has to learn to put pain and pleasure in proper temporal perspective.
3) Navarasa - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgHTKfHp37c. Also, watch the master class by Jagathy sir - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNIdreeRM4E :-)
4) Photo credit: N Bhaskar, The Hindu, 25/3/2020
It was love at first sight.
It was unexpected though because we had nothing in common yet we shared messages and furtive glances for over a month. The distance, however, hung above like a black cloud.
Our longing for each other continued and we took the opportunity to meet in person, albeit briefly. There, we planned for the future and made nervous conversation.
She said, "This is dangerous..."
I said, "Where's the fun if it isn't?"
She said, "You're not twenty-two any more.. you could embarrass yourself!"
I said, "We'll overcome it together..."
She said, "I'll need maintenance..."
I said, "We'll find a service centre."
We kept it simple.
The rest as they say is history and 'Hope' and I decided to get together last week. Here's praying to many wonderful years together.
I spent the better part of a decade dawdling, doodling, meddling and fiddling with the idea of a starting a blog (and generally making content). I have a hundred ideas at any point in my head and writing always excited me, so it just made sense to start. But alas, this was not be as I got lost in the myriad side-decisions surrounding it, from the topics I wanted to write about, the blog name, the visual aesthetics and other technical aspects (hosting provider, publishing platform*, etc.).
It was exhilarating to experiment with word play, font styles and colour palettes! But not nearly enough to overcome the frustration because my efforts never took me anywhere, like a spoonful of food that goes past your head instead of into your mouth. For this one post, there are at least five that I haven't published. Hours and hours of pounding away at my laptop to produce nothing of value, except *this* moment of self-realisation (play Buddhist Prayer Bell).
I’m a bit of perfectionist, if you haven’t guessed already, and to admit to all the above is not easy. To add to the fire, everything and anything one puts out on the great web can be compared, trolled and will most certainly pale in comparison to truly great work that has already been created. Then why do this at all? Because there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you! I didn't say that, Maya Angelou did, and its so true. I know so.
So, that is how I'd like to begin. Without fear. Embracing imperfection.
*Publishing platform - If you're an aspiring content creator, don't waste time with this activity. Just pick one and get on with it; you can improvise later. Avoid lists.