Archives for the month of: February, 2013

The night is enveloped by a thick blanket of dark velvety clouds. The light inside the temple is dim. Most unexpectedly, dancing winds tease through my long loose hair. A row of brass oil lamps flicker and lace, the pillared mandapam, outside the sacred sanctum.

Enveloped in an ochery haze, the auspicious mandapam is decorated with a beautiful border of yellow marigold flowers, interspersed with green mango leaves. There is excitement and anxiousness in the air. A gentle breeze fills my senses with the sensuous aroma of white jasmine flowers.

The head priestess, nods her head in approval. It is the auspicious hour of celebration and offering to the Gods! The silence of inward prayers, fills the night. The smell of the ocean, washes over us, as we raise our head in reverence, towards those who will appear before our eyes.

Like jubilant, thundering clouds, the sound of the mridangam, slices through the stillness. A singer stirs the empty space, with her voice, sending melodious ripples, into the darkness. A gentle sea breeze, caresses my skin. The clouds begin to unveil the darkness. I awaken to the shimmer of the full moon night, tiptoeing upon my skin and breath.

Suddenly, she appears, the woman of dreams, Swapnasundari. Ivory moonlight, kissed by the blaze of a golden sun. Swapnasundari, the sensuous, full bosomed temple dancer, gaja-gamini, with the gait of a graceful she-elephant.

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Inspired by the Indian classical dance form called, ‘Vilasini Natyam’, by Smt Swapnasundari, at the Rukmini Arangam, in Kalashetra, Chennai, on the 25th of February 2013.

Could you discover something altogether yours, even if another points to how it may be found?

Could you know a vision, piercing right through the wall of the tiny room, wherein you sit, at the imperious bidding, of your young, unlikely, Master, reaching far beyond the horizon, ever expanding, to encompass infinity?

Could you stretch forth your hands and feel their presence brushing past clouds, past the singeing fire of the sun, intensely aware, of the bewildered stare of celestial elements, reaching deep into the cold emptiness of space, forever enclosing, the tips of your fingers?

Could you strike the floor with your feet and feel the Earth, challenged in its spin and natural orbit, causing the Ocean floor to rise, and feeling along your spine, the shiver of an imminent deluge, upon our highest peaks?

Could your eyes swing with your heart, darting glances, that no living being could resist, gluing together a broken, fragmented world, into a wholeness, altogether unknown, since our history began?

She dances like a virgin maiden bejewelled in finery.
She is passion, unhindered, by space and time.

She is the moon, she is music, she is rhythm, she is the mother, she is the demon, she is grace, she is love, she is the kiss, she is the flower arrow, she is desire, she is the lament, she is jubilation, she is the wind, she is the flower, she is the bee.

She beckons and she is the beckoning.
She is sensuality, unfettered, by space and time.

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Inspired by the Bharatanatyam dance recital of Smt. Vyjayanthimala Bali at the Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra, Chennai on 24th February, 2013.

Imagine bathing in a river, flowing broad, deceptively slow and calm, moving a world, in its dizzying depths, meeting with dignity and becoming the vastness it meets, at its point of confluence with the Ocean, that’s how it was to witness her dance, this woman, whom everyone knows as *Vyjayanthimala!

* “Garland of Vishnu”

It is smoky out here.
The aroma of burning Neem leaves,
cleanse my insides.

Veiled in the bosom of a nursing mother,
I caress the ash, sparkling in thin air!

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Inspired by the Kathakali performance of Shri Kalamandalam Rajasekharan at the Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra, Chennai on 23rd February, 2013.

Seated in the centre,
relieved to have caught the wind.

Sailing onwards,
magnetised by the light of passion,
mesmerised by the blazing apparition, yonder!

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Inspired by the Kathakali performance of Shri Kalamandalam Rajasekharan at the Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra, Chennai on 23rd February, 2013.

Dozing one afternoon, upon my rocking chair, I woke to the sound of a beggar’s call. He stood in front of me, this man dressed in rags, with bright eyes and a half smile upon his face.

“Where are you going?”, I asked him, at once realising, that it was hardly the question to ask a beggar, simply passing through.

He laughed, paused a while, and then spoke, in a low voice, that somehow conveyed a sense of urgency. “We arrive at the very same destination”, he said. “Working all your life to stay comfortable, what will you do when the train pulls in, at our final destination? What cosy blanket would you pull, to keep your lifeless body, from catching fire?”.

“What a spoil sport, this man!”, I thought. “He has robbed me of the pleasure of my rocking chair, this beggar, simply passing through!”

I wrote something I thought was interesting. Just wanted a picture to go with it. No image seemed to compliment what I was trying to express!

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I took a picture. I wrote something, to add to what the image expressed. But, however hard I tried, it only seemed to diminish, what the image accomplished, on its own.

Some images and some words, must remain unwed, it seems.

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Tub in a garden, sunk in mud
Wet black T-shirt with cerulean trunks
A tendril dipping its shaggy head
Bathed in green light from above