Archives for the month of: May, 2016

Hours of uninterrupted creativity, and then enters the familiar sensation of feeling extremely cooped up in the house. The music, poetry, the passing rows of grey clouds, the drizzling rains, hot cups of tea in the cool monsoon drifts, fill my heart with longing. The trees outside my balcony appear refreshed. The white compound walls are speckled with snails. Peeping down my window, I listen to the splattering rain drops. I see wet, translucent stars, burst about the grooved, cement pavements. I look up into the sky for winged birds, but there is only the grey wash of cottony clouds, drifting with the mist. I have spent the morning, listening to new verses of 15th century, poet-pilgrims. I am envious of their mastery over prose, and the depth of their imaginative inspirations. I marvel at the voice of a contemporary musician sing aloud these ancient texts in lingering melodies. I hunger to rotate each syllable in my mouth. I thirst to gulp every sliver of emotion and meaning, deep into my cells. I enjoy wrapping my being with the rolling words of an ancient language. I ache to free my vocal chords, my breath, the hollows of my skull and bones with music, music and more music. I spend hours writing each syllable and sound in my native tongue. I enjoy feeling the texture of each word chosen by the poet. I enter the expanse of metaphors rising from each sentence. I wonder how these creations came to be. I discover a celestial musician by the name of तुम्बुरु, Tumburu [1]. I am enchanted with his half animal, half human form. My being fills with delight. I repeatedly listen to a select few musical compositions that have fallen upon my ears for the very first time. I am surprised with my voracious appetite for food by noon. I digest it all with ease. I return to the poetical verses and music, but my full belly, takes away attentiveness from the subtle. So, I spend my afternoon entering the world of thrilling fictions. The afternoon sky darkens. It is evening. An unexpected melancholy visits me. Looking outside my window, something within longs for the outdoors. I can hear whispers speak to me of the ocean. I can see inner landscapes of rains shimmering upon its vast body.

IMG_4076I feel the call of misty sprays of the salty waters. I drive out to the beach nearby. Parking my car, I switch off my cellphone. Stepping out, I look out at the humongous veil of grey before me. The sand is wet, and of an intense, yellow ochre color.

IMG_4074The dunes are flattened. The walk to the shoreline is easy, yet heavy footed. There are not too many people outdoors in the rains. Those who linger, appear bitten by the muse of mirth and mischief. Closer to the foaming shoreline, the ocean is dotted with muscular, dark brown, youthful lads, who are rolling in the sands, wrestling with the thickening, emerald-grey, translucent waves.

The waves appear to me like celestial mermaids, splashing waters with their beautiful tails, creating lyrical mists with the passing winds. Metamorphosing their lean bodies, they swell, crash, and mist into a tender foam. The ocean appears as if it were teasing, beckoning, rambunctiously playful, and heartily loud with a roaring, deep bellied, laughter. The rain is at first, a drizzle. I receive its pattering songs. There is an unusual slant to the crashing waves.

The sands near the shore appear raised up to a heightened, smooth platform due to the extreme ebb and flow of the joyful tides. Men lay upon these slants and enticingly await its unpredictable, lukewarm embrace. Women observe their bare bodies, allowing an inward, steady, climb of delight. But the ocean, surprises everybody. In a flash, a thrust of forceful waters, knocks out the timidity of hesitant women, buckling them into the arms of their Beloved. Their shocked bodies rejoice the wetness, awakening hysteria, while allowing men and women to merge in spontaneity into Her sensuous warmth and infinite expanse! I remain by myself, walking along the shoreline in gratitude and wonder. The joy around me is kindling. A stoic women with fine features appears beside me, her calm gaze fixed in a trance like state upon the ocean. She holds an excited toddler in her arms. Both, mother and child are shaded under a giant umbrella by her petite house-helper. I feel amused at the sight.

IMG_4078Suddenly, a powerful wave splashes over me. I am quick to receive its weave of smothering kisses. Compassion and tenderness, flush my entire being. With moistening eyes, I burst into my song. My voice taunts at the boisterous ocean. All around is a celebration of Mother nature’s friskiness. Though, none can out-sing the hearty sound of the vast ocean and the pouring rains. I enjoy my quietude in the crowd. I am singing and dancing with my eyes. Now, in a caressing voice. The booming ocean and the playful crowd share in my madness.

When my song comes to an end, the twilight is welcoming the dark lady of the night. I am soaked and feel nippy as the light around me, softly dims. I feel the call of my warm, dry nest. Turning around, I notice a lilt in my steps. I marvel at the fullness of my being. Cloaked in peace, I return to the warmth of our beautiful home. I switch on my cell phone. Refreshed after a warm meal and bath, I sit on my rocking chair. Our home is cooler due to the pouring rains. I write to Vidhya, my dear friend and gifted classical dancer, living across the seven continents from me. In response to sharing the fine details of my spirited day, she sends me a song in the voice of Shri T. M. Krishna, about a resplendent, benevolent Lord, who reclines on the vast, milky ocean, * सागर शयन विभो, Sagara Shayana Vibho [2] in Raag Bageshree, originally a signature composition of Shri. Manjapara Devesa Ramanathan known as MDR a Carnatic music composer and vocalist from the twentieth century. Sighing in deep contentment, I rest into the night, sparkling inside the exquisiteness of voice, poetry, music, marvelling once again, at an infinite downpour of a creative life-force.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumburu

[2] https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bTFtDmFbWIY  

Photography by Kaarthikeyan Kirubhakaran

The granite peaks of the mountain are kissed by cloudlets floating like the silver lotus; And all its gullets and springs and rills are flowing and bubbling with water; The mind is enthralled by the sight of the hills alive with the bustling peacocks. 

Touched by the moisture-laden clouds, the humid breeze is cool and fragrant with the blossoms of Kadamba, Sarja, Arjuna, Ketaki, whom it mirthfully shakes;

Who does not feel, in quiet of content,
That something’s amiss-

An ache in the heart,

Or a tinge of sorrow! 

Maids, with their gorgeous hair drooping to the hips, with pendants of fragrant sprays on the ears, the bosom decked with string of pearls, and the lips moist with wine, fill their lovers minds with longing. 

~ ~ ~

This season with its cluster of clouds, I ween,

Is like a dexterous lover,

For it deftly weaves round the heads of maidens

Chaplets of bakula flowers

Interlaced with malati blossoms ;

It designs fresh trinklets for their ears

With wreaths of new blooms

And opening buds of the yuthika creeper

And full blown kadamba flowers.

Thrilled with the fresh earth-scented air,

And the drip and drizzle of falling drops,

Youthful women express their joy of life

With strings of pearls on their dainty breasts,

The soft white linen on their perfect hips,

And the glamour of the undulant waist line.

The wayward wind, wanderer in the sky,

Cooled by the touch of the fresh clean raindrops,

Rustles the leaves of trees

Bowed with the load of flowers,

And makes them dance ;

Fragrant with the charming odour

Of the golden pollen of the ketaki,

It steals the heart of lonely lovers.

The wooded height of Vindhya is the rest-house

Of the likes of us bent with the burden of water ;

So say the rain-clouds and, bending low, 

They gladden the mountain,

Licked by the crimson tongues of fire,

With heavy showers of rain.

May this period of the rain-giving clouds,

Charming with its many attractions,

The dream of delight of romantic maids,

Unselfish friend of trees and vines,

And the breath of life of animate beings,

Grant you your heart’s inmost desires !   


{Above: Excerpts from ‘RITUSAMHARA‘, translated from the original Sanskrit lyrics of 4th century playwright and poet, Kalidasa, by Shri Ranjit Sitaram Pandit.}