Fly Like A Kite

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Matariki Kite Festival


Fly
Like A Kite

Fly aloft like a kite
Soar high and higher still
Ecstatic and bouncy with delight
Walk dreamily on clouds
Enthrall viewers on the ground

Probe uncertain realms
Be coaxed by gentle wind
To never give up half-way through

Find your strength, have faith
That your string is in reliable hands
Of that fond player, who made you fly
Who carefully tuned your first leap forth
Till you found your own balance

 Fly high like a kite
Just don’t fall like one
Onlookers can be very unforgiving

~~~~ 

© 2016-17 Alka Girdhar.

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Life & Money

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Life & Money

is life all about money? Is it?
less money
more money
black money
white money
giving money
getting money
earning money
stealing money
spending money
valuing money
no money
no money means no life? Or does it?

Life is about money; more about
Power, positions, fame
And some love…
Can money buy love?
Can it purchase a dying life? Can it?

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

I wrote these lines in keeping with the recent demonitization in India, the scrapping of high value currency, the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Its higher aim was/is to get rid of corruption. We see how big an impact this process had on each and every Indian resident, and also on non-resident Indians to some extent, for they too hoard rupees wherever they may live.

During such times life does begin to revolve around the value of money, that is, what all a few pieces of paper can or cannot buy.  And people start valuing the ‘right’ money even more.

A daily wage laborer cannot feed his/her family without money, and although money cannot buy love, only valid usable currency can pay a marriage celebrant or a priest. These previously treasured 500 and 1000 Rupee notes are obsolete and even hospitals want the right currency notes, only then they can save lives.

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But then again, less money could finally mean less corruption in the society and in people’s hearts.

What do you say?.

Freedom Is Everyone’s Birthright

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Magnanimous Word

Saare Jahan se Achcha…Hindustan Hamara

Happy Independence Day to all the people of Indian origin, wherever you are in this world, and of whatever faith, religion, color, caste or creed.  Be One!!   The country you hail from is one of its kind – a land of beautiful culture, strong values, spiritualism, linguistic and religious diversity.

It’s a day to value your freedom, to remember that it was attained after huge sacrifices, to not take it for granted and to constantly work towards maintaining this freedom so that our future generations can thank us, just as we thank our ancestors for the hard work they did to give us this day. A free country gives us all roots and belonging, it’s a prerogative but also an onus.

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This poem by Rabindranath Tagore sums it up:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where…

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Life Of A Yogi

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Yoga means union
Union of soul-mind-body
Body that forever ails
Ails of endless travails
Mind that wanders
Wanders without control
Control these two
Be a yogi!!

A yogi at heart
Heart that is detached
Detached from the world
World that’s an illusion
Illusions we chase
Chasers get no peace
Peace always evades
Be a yogi!!

Yogi with peace of mind
Mind that’s finally sure
Sure of what it wants
Wants inner happiness
Happiness it gets
Gets and then spreads
Spreads to all mates
Be a yogi!!

A yogi, in the above sense, is a detached renunciate, someone with a blissful state of mind that is unaffected by good or bad. He’s everyone’s friend and companion, and yet not attached to anyone.
Hence yogi is not just someone who does rigorous yoga exercises the whole day long, although that has its benefits too. After all, a healthy body and healthy mind go together, while meditation too calms the mind.

These were my random thoughts as today is International Yoga Day!  In Sydney there was Yoga atop Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I personally do no yoga exercise ever though I aspire to learn…maybe one day..

When She Learnt to Get Her Voice Heard

Aria was visiting her native land after many years, and she visited her high school after what seemed like ages. As she parked her car near her school, she stood looking at a pathway and saw herself once again. Distant. A faint silhouette slowly moving away.

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Young Aria sitting on the back seat of her school teacher’s bicycle while he rode leisurely. This slow-moving bike journey along the short tree-lined path, took them from their school to All India Radio, the local radio-station that had recording studios within. Those days when private channels had not yet mushroomed, the government-run AIR was the only radio-station in her city. Continue reading

Colouring-Decolouring

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ColouringDecolouring

You are dark, she is fair
She is black, he is white
We are brown, they are yellow
Are you brunette or blonde?
We coloured people
With discoloured hearts
And uncoloured ways
Turn more coloured on Holi
And yet, less coloured

Becaue the Festival of Colours
Is a great equilizer, its
Colourful masks uncolour
Our fake crude colours
And we are no more
Rich or poor, big or small
Literate-illiterate, light or dark
Merely simple human beings
Living life, enjoying moments
Just as we are meant to do

© 2016 Alka

~~~ ~~~

May your life be full of right colors that are devoid of any bias.!

It’s often about these two – India & Music

It’s holiday time which means with more time in hand, other than merry-making and enjoying Christmas Carols, I am back to my Indo-mania. Back to?  That’s because it comes off and on, but when it does it’s not in small doses. And that includes not only thinking about all things Indian but also listening to Indian music and watching Indian movies.

Here are some songs from a very recent Indian movie Bajirao Mastani. Based on a true historical love story between Bajirao and Mastani from the 1700s, it has kings, queens and warriors in their vibrancy and opulence.

Those of you who do not understand the lyrics (possibly 99% of you) can still enjoy these songs for their art and music. Make it full screen for greater visual effects and see them till the end.

The following song is sung in two different Indian languages which means even a polyglot like me does not understand every word of it, but after listening to it a few times, I could feel it going on and on in my mind.

Here’s another catchy number from the same movie. It is based on a mix of pinga and laavni (folk) dance art forms that are popular in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Great choreography and setting, and of course beautiful Indian women in their traditional attire. One of these stars is the lead character in the American TV series Quantico.

These songs being authentically Indian, are different from usual Bollywood songs. Hence I felt like sharing. Hope you enjoy!

 

The Spooky Experience

I saw this writing prompt by The Daily Post:

Bloggers, UnpluggedSometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

And I thought that only yesterday it so happened that I  could manage to be away from my blog for the whole day. This was something unusual for a Sunday, even more so after I had published a brand new post in the morning – my recent poem.

A day out for shopping and a long movie to follow got me unplugged from blogging for the day. But other than this, I also had a quaint experience; the main reason for writing my today’s post.

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Yesterday, my son wanted to give me a treat for some special occasion. His dad is generally more of a movie addict, but since he prefers watching movies at home, he wouldn’t have gone anyway so off we went – mom and son – a rare feat this one.

The movie was at the Hoyts Cinema.  Indian (Hindi) movies are usually longer than English movies, and this one being a brand new movie but a traditional family drama on the lives of kings and princes, it meant more than three hours gone focusing on the story.  How unplugged is that from the blogging world!

And now for my strange experience.

As we were getting our tickets at the cinema counter, the girl asked me if we had any seat preference. I told her my preference was for one of the back rows. As she handed me the tickets, I asked her if she could also have given the corner seats. She told, it is one of the back rows but the seats are probably somewhere in the middle and not corner.

Now as we entered the hall, I observed it was not much crowded.  Plenty of empty spaces and as we walked in, on the right side column of seats there was a row with four seats.  My son sat on one of these and said this looks fine.

I argued with him that why did I have to specifically ask for the back rows if we do not wish to use them now. I made him get up from there and I took a few steps upwards so as to keep walking towards the back rows where, as per me, our legal seats were.

As I went up, I suddenly stopped short near a row left towards where I stood, and decided to occupy two corner seats.  Mind it, there were still seven to eight more rows to go before we could reach one of the top rows. But that seemed like an effort and somehow I decided for these two corner seats.

The row was pretty much empty and so were most seats all round us. Basically, we felt that since the movie was about to start, we shouldn’t bother about not occupying the correct seat numbers. It didn’t seem at all that anyone would come now and vacate us, which we didn’t mind. Moreover we had sacrificed our better top row seats that give less eye-strain.

Fast forward… half of the movie gone, there came intermission and with lights on, suddenly my son checked the seat number written on his seat. Then he took out his ticket and checked the number there too. It was the same. Quite surprised he checked for my seat too.  Yes the number on that seat was also the same as it was on my ticket. We were sitting at the right place.

Spooky?  Of course it was very spooky.  He asked me how can such a thing even happen?

Do you have an answer for this?               

  ~~ ~~~

This was a true experience so I felt like sharing.

 

These Festivals of Light…of Hope, Faith and Love  

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Most major festivals celebrated by us humans, irrespective of faith or religion, are in some way a Festival of Light. Not all are referred to as that, but they are so because lightening up of the surrounds – to whatever degree – is an essential part of Diwali, Christmas, Gurpurab, Eid and many others that I have unintentionally not listed here.

Festivals of Light are also festivals of darkness, for they go hand in hand. But how’s it so?

Light seems bright only because of darkness. Try lighting a lamp during the day. During broad daylight in a well lit room, if we accidentally put our electric bulbs and tube-lights on, we put them off instantly…‘Oh! That was accidental. We don’t need you as yet. Let darkness arrive!.’

And when after its long and tiring work-day, as sun begins to set and darkness takes over charge…that’s when we definitely and immediately need light in any form, howsoever little.

Thus if there’s no darkness there would be no value of light. Darkness renders light indispensable to us. In moments when darkness is unbearable and fearsome, it is the illuminating light that provides everyday comfort, while taking away our fear of the unknown thus adding to our happiness.

All in all, these facts were well known to our human ancestors who thronged the earth ages ago. Hence, after their initial hit and trials of rubbing stones to produce fire (and light) they experimented in all possible ways to create light so as to make their lives easy.

In very olden days, esp. here as I talk in the contexts of India, when there was no electricity, people depended on earthen lamps, candles, lanterns to get rid of physical darkness and facilitate visibility.

At the same time, they very keenly sought spiritual light in the form of ancient wisdom that’s written all over in the ancient books.

“Aum Asato ma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mṛtyorma amṛtam gamaya
Aum shanti shanti shantih ”

The above lines in Sanskrit that were taken from the Upanishads textbooks mean –

“From Ignorance, lead me to Truth;
From Darkness, lead me to Light;
From Death, lead me to Immortality
Peace, peace, peace !!” –

Given the importance they gave to the very concept of light, those days in India offering ‘light’ to others in any form was considered a noble task of charity. ‘diwali-smallDeep-daan’, is the term used for donating or lighting a ‘deep’ or an earthen lamp for others. It’s a charity of light, and the purpose was to help others dispel darkness around them.

So, from what I’ve heard, after sunset our ancient people used to habitually and regularly go to road-crossings and light a lamp there. Numerous such lamps would become a full-fledged light system, and these groups of lamps would illuminate the pathway of every passer-by. This was esp. beneficial on the darkest of nights, and that’s what it is on every Diwali night, as it is a new moon or moon-less night.

Moreover, thus lighting up each other’s path meant not only illuminating others’ path but simultaneously radiating your own path as well.

Yes!!  Lighting up others’ path automatically lights up your own path as well.

But. In order to light up somebody’s path, you have to have a light of your own, even if it‘s meant to be given away to others.

So, please do give it a thought.

Nowadays we don’t have any dearth of man-made electronic light devices. But even now, although we take light for granted, this same light continues its traditional role of giving us happiness. Thousands of years later, these festivals of light still continue to be symbolic of victory of light over darkness; victory of goodness over evil.

In my immediate surroundings, on my street here in Sydney, I feel we need more street-lights as it sometimes gets too dark. Reporting this to the council has not yielded forth any positive results yet. So everyday, at around sunset time, I make sure I put on the lights in my outer verandah and outer porch.

This light overflows to the street beyond my house and possibly helps people coming home late, esp. as many university students do that. Possibly it deters thieves as well. I do this for few hours each day, particularly on the darkest new-moon nights that have no moonlight of its own.

Help those who have no light of their own, no hope and love; those who have lost their inner light and brightness. That’s the true essence of every festival.  That is, other than wearing good clothes and eating lots of sweets.

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Mysore Palace in South India here lit up for Diwali

Some more Diwali Pictures as Ornate as can be.

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For the Cute and Homely Witches

My previous short story – The Lives of Witches & Bitches  – for this week’s flash fiction challenge Mondays Finish the Story was a bit sad. Now I’ve written this second fun story to humor myself and others.
In MFtS…we are given a picture and the beginning line, we create and finish the rest of it.

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For the Cute and Homely Witches

“From her small balcony, the witch watched the world go by” –  This was the opening phrase of the drama that her 8th Grade was presenting, and enthusiastic Sheena had been diligently practicing her dialogues.

Her amazed and amused mom decided to pull her leg. “Are you playing the role of a witch? Ha ha…my girl who doesn’t even like to touch a broom.

Maa! Who says witches use a broom to clean their room. They sit on it and flyyyy away!.

Oh really? But you don’t even like cooking. Witches spend hours cooking in cauldrons

Mom, what do you mean? Indian women too love using cauldrons and the way they eagerly brew herbs and spices. So, are they…??”

Mom was amused by the reverse logic in what her daughter said but she cleverly smiled it away and replied, “Of course Indian women cast a magical spell on others with their healing food

Sheena decided to ignore this one. She sat humming “Double double, toil and trouble…”

Mom laughed, “No toil for you my delicate baby, but you are my trouble. Very naughty trouble!

This time, Sheena decided to win her heart. Walking up to her mom, she hugged her from behind and said “That I am!”

~~~~ ~~~

Double, double toil and trouble.
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”
…lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth where the three witches chant together as they put stuff in a cauldron.

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