Friday, August 17, 2007

'Art is not like any other profession'

It was absolutely inspiring to be part of an interview with Priyadarshini Govind, the legendary bharatnatyam dancer of our times. It was great to be in the ambience of a person who is situated at a different altitude altogether...

She was very humble in saying... ' Art can look after itself. It does not need people like us. The bad things will grow out... '

And she was so right in saying that ' The arts are not respected enough in India... and that's why its a vicious circle... so many people do not take to it... as its not respected as its not viable enough...

' Art is not like any other profession.. you have to surrender to it... you cant switch off from it when you get home whether one likes it or not...' She feels its the spiritual aspect alone that carry forwards the arts... not the educational and the other aspects...

She's performing at ISKCON Bangalore's annual Indian dance festival ' Sri Krishna Shringar'. She feels that performing in a temple atmosphere is an alotogether a different trip and its sheer beauty to get the right stage...

I really look forward to her performance....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When a loved one dies, a world in us dies

There was just one thing numbing my mind all through the afternoon and the night of 20th July. Disbelief.
It was not possible to anticipate how ajja, could have left.
But well, he had.
And that I had not met him for a very long time, painted an emotion very hard to describe.

Restlessness engulfed me, until it was settled that few of us family would travel to siddapur in a private van. Meeting family gives a sense of roots, in some way, and in these circumstances, I was glad to be with family- uncles and cousins.

What started as a journey from Bangalore to Siddapur, was rather a painful trip down memory lane. It brought back in packets, all the other journeys that have been taken from any starting point that meets at Siddapur.. Bangalore to Hubli to Siddapur, Bombay to Hubli to Siddapur. Hubli to Siddapur ofcourse is the one route I could blindly drive, for all the infinite trips we took for occasions like nagpanchmi, ganesha habba, deepavali, new year parties and many visits without the need for one than just going to siddapur...
Driving to Siddapur, was a drive back to the roots, back to home, to puttappan kere, neergudi, back to kith and kin,
back to ajja and ammamma...

The first thing we all did when we reached was meet ajja, touch his feet and hug him. He was a towering figure without being overpowering.

Somehow, Siddapur tantamounts to ajja, and that's not no exaggeration.

My train of thoughts halts at 3 am. We are in Siddapur. At the gate. The silence of the night is engulfing. And what we see- shattering. My dearest grandfather, lays still. And ammmama deareast, bereft of Ajja's life force....

I couldn't contain myself, much as everybody else, all we could do was weep some and some more... the man who touched our lives with unique relationships and equally with his persona, had left with a void, that can never be filled again....

And I jotted these thoughts in (I)as we all sat before him till the dawn of 21st July....

How still he lay, he lay bold
Body so cold and old
A legend with him lay still.

A life lived so full
So full a life lived.

He lay still, yet so calm
Almost a smile that curves his gentle lip.
A man of word, a man of deed, lay still.

Noon to dusk he lay still.
Flowers all around him.
Tears, all for him.
Those of appreciation and gratitude
For all he did, for all he lived.

Where is he gone from here on… ?
The head-man of this herd, its tusker
… is gone.

Wake up just once
Let me speak to you just once
Let me make you laugh just once
I want to hear that gurgling laugh and hug you
... Just once

(We are all here, together, almost all of us
Wont you share a light moment
And bask in your basket of kids, grandkids and greatgrandkid?)

His body lay still
Rituals, ceremonies and rites are done unto him
We pour water over him, cold water on his already cold body
The last that I get to touch his feet
Get his blessings, even in death
(And tears wash us, flooding us with memories, his loss and his emptiness)

His body lay still
As he's upheaved on a wooden stretcher
His tonsured-head sons, brave it in white
Never did I see a tear in my father's eye
Now, I see, as his father moves on with life

Rituals, non-descript rituals
That do not tell any tale
They are seemingly embedded in some code
That drudge on the deathly ceremonies

He still, lay still
As his body is adorned, on a sandalwood pyre
Its all set to burn his body to ashes
Log after log, covers him up
Until we have that last and final glance of him
And a slow and steady fire that is flaming the end of an era

Time burns out moment after moment
Leaving us with raging memories in the mind's eye
and photographs for the eye...

(Time is death
It eats the world we make bite by bite
Until the one day when a world in us dies
Cos a loved one has left the world to fragments of memories and photographs...)