The Hunger Games

As we grow up, we realize the horizons of our mind are smaller than we imagined. The things we can know, understand and believe are much less in number than the ones which we are supposed to blindly trust. We never grow up and become a know-it-all as we thought as a child. The heap of cognition keeps getting smaller while the dubiety stacks up like a mountain.One of such riddle is the ever-intensifying confusion between Mythology and Religion. The famous lines makes the perfect sense here

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

Faith and wit have been fighting an eternal war inside human minds for a long time now. The mind numbing conviction of faith bestowed upon us by our ancestors and the nerve-wracking realization that it all may turn out to be a myth, the battle seems to be never ending. As the wheel of time turns, the latter seems to be getting momentum and it’s clinching grasp forces to the conclusion that the world might be running randomly without any meaning or purpose. A series of Random accidents making continuum called life as we know it!

“Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.” – Annie Reed (Sleepless in Seattle)

But who can contradict the God himself?

“There is no coincidence, and nothing happens ‘by accident.’  Each event and adventure is called to your Self by your Self in order that you might create and experience Who You Really Are.  All that is required is to know this. For you are the creator of your own reality, and life can show up in no other way for you than the way in which you think it will.” – Conversations with God, An Uncommon Dialogue by Neal Walsch

Maybe, Mythology and my faith do not necessarily come under the same umbrella. While there is a lot to deliberate on the superhuman aspects of Gods(be it any God! Did Krishna actually kill all those asuras as a kid? Did Jesus actually walk on water?), the spiritual prowess of any deity is undeniable. The material existence of any God is questionable and can be critically examined from an agnostic point of view. But spiritually speaking, all these Gods exist and they are the basic energy that scruples our very own thought process which in turn webs the society ‘s conscience and it is all very powerful and personal. to an individual, yet it affects all. That collective conscience, that faith,  is what runs the world. Still, Myth and faith have been woven in us so intricately that separating them would be spoiling our own very soul.  Faith is stronger when they have a solid Mythology foundation and Mythologies are more trustable when we associate our faith with it.

Recently I heard a very interesting concept about Hunger Games at Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva from Indian Hindu Mythology. Lord Shiva is a deity of immense power who should not be meddled with.His ‘Ardhanarishvara’ concept is an esteemed one from Indian mythology, just like the Ying-Yang from Chinese philosophy. Here goes the abstract.

Ardhanarishvara

In the picture, the mount of Devi Parvathy is a Lion and that of Lord Shiva is Nandhi, depicted as a bull. Both are connected directly in the food chain, yet they stay together and calm without any hungriness. The devotion of Shiva means the end of that hunger, the hunger for power, the hunger for money and the hunger for all the other material things in the world. Shiva means denouncing the material world and desiring the ethereal planes of spirit. Same is the case of mounts of Subramanya and Ganesha, sons of Shiva. One has a peacock and the other one has a rodent as their respective mounts. To link and complete this food chain, Shiva carries a Snake around his neck. The family union at Mount Kailash would have been a bit chaotic, if not for the abstinence of the mounts. Yet they remain, free from all Hunger Games.

Even a small thing from Indian Mythology has so much to ponder. I wouldn’t dare discredit it as a mere coincidence. When you think about it, each and every deity of Hindu mythology has many such intriguing and interlinked stories that you really wonder if it can really be the creation of a human at all. The reality, myth, and imagination linked with unadulterated beliefs of many make our mythology, a thing to be admired. Indian mythology is of magnificent and unparalleled complexity. But once you associate it with our faith, it takes another level of existence and veneration.

An agnostic and a believer is present in every human’s personality. The believer always looks for the way out of any kind of confrontation.Normally it goes like this ‘It does not matter if God exists or not. His teachings, the parables of his life and the overall goodness he spreads, aren’t these things we should be focusing and assimilating on rather than reasoning out the existence or the nonexistence of God’. Though quite a tangent to the existential question, the agnostic part of the brain murmurs rebelliously, ‘Why wouldn’t I want to know the source of the food we are eating?’ As if we really know the origin of all the food I eat, the other parts retorts. The bickering continues perennially. Eventually, as a person evolves and depending on his situations, one side gets stronger dominating the other one, still, the other part exists.

The conflict is of the innate inquisitiveness of the brain to know the Hows, Whens, Wheres and Whys of the things and the inherent fear of our mind finding himself haphazard in the world, which never reaches anywhere near a conclusion. Maybe in some, It eventually leads to the slow eroding of faith. The loss of faith is nothing less than an internal inferno. You never survive those catastrophic seismic shifts without any damage. It is essential to have your own angels and demons than burn in an eternal hell of forlornness so balancing the conflict is important. Personally, the superficial currents keep drifting me away from casting anchor, and so far I never found the gratification of knowing the truth from anywhere nor have the bliss of complete belief. Hope I get better with age and win my own hunger game.

We exist!

Do we have a dearth of woman writers? – It seems every other shelf in the library fiction section is overflowing with Woman authors. Every other novel seems to be written by women. Why do we even have to think that there is a deficiency? Then I found my answer here – The second shelf. It tells you exactly how the top creamy layer of Literary fiction reflects the status quo of gender disparity in all the other streams of life. Woman writers are there, but mostly deemed to be on the second shelf knowingly or unknowingly. Literature awards, renowned reading lists – the top is brimming with male authors with a very few mentions of noteworthy female writers.

Do not judge the book by its cover. Well, What about the author? Are we being a little judgmental about the Author’s gender as a reader? – Recently I was reading an article about the reasons why JK Rowling changed her pen name to Robert Galbraith – a male name. Its alleged that she changed the name to ‘fit in’ the Crime\Thriller Genre which has an overwhelming presence of Male authors. If The Cuckoo’s Calling had been written by a woman, will it receive the same raving reviews? Along with the creative freedom it gave her, the name change did give JK Rowling a remarkable foray into a Genre where few female authors have ventured. If you give a little more thought into this matter,  ‘JK Rowling’ name itself does not give away the gender. Much to my dismay, I realized, not just JK Rowling, there are many female authors who use male pen names to publish their books in the not-so-woman-friendly genres.

Where are the women writers? Why there are less number of serious fiction\non fiction writers around? – While googling about woman authors I ran into a very interesting news piece. In 2014, in a Washington DC theater critics and artistic directors summit, one of the directors explained the reason for the low representation of female playwrights at American theaters as ‘that there just aren’t enough talented women playwrights in the pipeline, and that it will take at least a decade to fix the problem’. A furor was ensured followed by the creation of an a google document – ‘We Exist’ with the details of over 1000 female playwrights(The document still exists!) by the activists. Following the analogy, publishers either can not find good content or are reluctant to publish content under uncharted genre’s. Well, here comes the good news – Small press and Other Stories will produce no books by men in 2018 in answer to Kamila Shamsie’s call for direct action to beat gender bias in publishing.

Does this gender disparity in literature make a difference to me as a reader? – May be No. But in the long run, it does have an impact. An era is remembered by its art. So it would not hurt to add a little more of female voice in it to represent half the population. That’s under the assumption that female authors tend to write stories revolving strong female characters. When you portray strong female characters of different shades who can be empathized with, it gives a bigger platform to echo social issues. The way women deals with issues, situations and stress is completely different from men. So it would be a refreshing change to see woman protagonists in thrillers and serious fiction, other than romance and chic-lit. There are more shades of women than the ones ‘who blooms and melts under his touch’.

Such portrayals go a long way in demolishing the existing prejudices of society about woman. Recently I read a thriller with an alcoholic female protagonist and inadvertently the ‘unbelievable-ity’ of such a scenario crept into my review as well. When I can gulp down the scene of ‘a drunken hero beating about a half a dozen villains in his hot pursuit  to save the world from an impending danger’ without even thinking twice about it, why not a woman? We sink into the comfort of cliched characters and stereotyped women many a times and any aberration is sure to bring a tartness. It’s refreshing to have a different view of women when we are used to viewing woman through the kaleidoscope of preconceived notions. Its time to lean in and the break the glass door. Its time to shout that we exist. A little perseverance and a little boost is all that we need. When we have a long list of pioneers ahead of us, the task in hand turns less arduous. Hoping to see more Woman writers in more uncharted genres.

The Multiverses riddle!

The other day I was watching Little Krishna with my Avni. She has a fervent obsession for anything related to her little Chinna (K still evades her speech and gets replaced by a benign ‘Ch’).  In that movie, Little Krishna had decided to teach Brahma a lesson and summoned an infinite number of Brahma’s to show him that there are infinite number of universes and ours is just one of them.  I was grinning like a Cheshire cat during that sequence. It just so happened that I watched the TED talk about Multiverses just a day before this happened.

It seems science just recently proved\acknowledged the existence of other universes. The ever diminishing skeptic in me calls this a mere coincidence! Still it amazes me even to think that thousands of years ago, people knew things(be it as a form of literature or as a fact) which we recently found out.

Ref – Multiverse in Religion

A Story of Fall

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Today, its story time. Story of Fall!

Story of a mysterious and lush wood nymph. One fine day, the love of her life seemed to fade away leaving her in misery and wretchedness. She watched the last of his rays vanish in harrowing silence.

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Seething with agony and anger, slowly the wood nymph blossomed into a bewitching beauty. Many lecherousness eyes adored her. Her admirer’s took her celestial beauty in every breath. They never saw her dried bark and her murky soul engulfed in sadness.

https://hazydreamsandreflections.wordpress.com

Then the winds came and the darkness crept up to her core.To survive the test of times, she shed away the last of her tears leaving a trail of love for all who loved her.

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Baring it all, there she stood, waiting for him to return.

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The reluctant lover sent her white doves for her delight. But she never relented. She knew he always comes back to her. And her unwavering love brought him back. He brought her spring sparrows and they together made magical wind charms as a token of their love.

End of story.

The princess Diaries

Sale! Sale! 40% off.

Lifestyle is having a sale and I took Avni along with me for the much needed mother daughter bonding-cum-shopping time. #baddecision.

Juniors footwear section has two racks. One rack sparkling in pink and yellow and the other one with a dull blue-black-brown hue. The invisible sign board reads Girls here and Boys there. I marched towards the blue-black-brown rack with avni in tow. Blue should be the color for my baby girl, Mamma decided. On top of that they go with most of the stuff in avni’s wardrobe. #doublebenefit.

As I picked up couple of shoes to try on my little one, a may-I-help-you-boy comes and politely informs me.

“Ma’m Its for boys.”

I know. The inner wolf in me screamed at the poor thing silently. No pink for my baby, only blue. And Never ever never ever never ever talk like that to a true- blue-feminist.

I put on my ohyoudon’t-know smile and tell him patiently.

“I know. But my baby loves blue. And I am sure it will suit her.”

I turned towards Avni to try out…….oh the horror, look what I found.

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The little one has evidently decided that the chit chat between her mom and mayIhelpyouboy is irrelevant and decided to search for shoes herself. And see what she got for herself… A shoes which has pink, barbie and bling..ha worst voodoo doll of any feminist blue blood.

“kunju, see I have got a blue one for you. Super wow color”. My last attempt.

“Amma..chi chi”. She shook her head.

“Amma.. Chiya…”. She pointed towards the pink shoes making it clear that she has decided.

Those who are gonna see my baby running with these pink shoes on, Let me clarify beforehand. I still do not believe in gender based stereotypes. I just let my baby exercise her free will. Phew #excusesweinvent.

Tangled

Do you believe in premonitions? I do not! Well, I did not.

When life flows fast like a river, time is too precious to waste on otherworldly stuff. This used to be my motto. But recently something happened and it literally jolted me out of my convictions. World is not as simple as the science text books make us believe. Isn’t it?

Recently my naughty love dot happened to have a little adventure and managed to fell down from her stroller quite notoriously. A huge bump on her heard and a bruised nose were enough to send her ever paranoid mother on a run. Hospital, medical shops, here, there, I was on a hyperactive drive and never noticed the continuous calls I am getting on mobile from her dad. After a hefty hospital emergency bill, doctor’s ‘all is well’ assurance and hours of panicking, Me and Avni got back home to see 18 missed calls from the daddy dearest. Daddy got a very disturbing early morning dream of Avni falling from a height so was calling me continuously to make sure everything is ok. My brain tells me again and again that it is just a coincidence. Heart says to believe in the magic of it.

Its too easy to get lost in the palpable world and miss the whole abstraction. isn’t it? Our lives, situations, thoughts, memories everything is tangled even if people are not physically together. Occasionally this connect do spark, i feel. Later when I shared this incident with my Aunt, She casually replied that in her forty years of marriage life, such things happened numerously and its like a perfectly natural thing between her and her husband. Can two people connect beyond the realm of reason?

Some experiences should be cherished rather than analyzed i guess!